I got a haircut a few weeks ago. Sitting in a pneumatic chair, draped in a cape, I had a good view of the salon’s centerpiece, a circular settee crowned with a large, elaborate flower arrangement. I asked my hair stylist, a stylish and pretty young mother, how often her salon’s fancy flower arrangement was changed.
“Usually once a week,” she said as she worked her scissors around the nape of my neck. We both looked toward the immense vase spouting a tangle of blooms and leaves. “See that arrangement of sticks coming out of it?” she said. “That’s supposed to represent fertility.” She eyed it warily. “I’m not sitting over there.”
I studied the piece. Those sticks look more like the Pirouette Wafers that Pepperidge Farms makes, I said. Then again, I added, I think in terms of cookies, not fertility.
She held her scissors down by her side and laughed.
♦ ♦ ♦
Did someone mention cookies?
I made cookies for the nurse who cut off my cast and removed my sutures this week.** Acutely aware that the job involved a foot and leg that had not been exposed to soap or water or a razor in nearly three weeks, I needed a thank-you offering to blunt my chagrin. Cookies make everything better (except the actual experience of having sutures removed). My favorite cookie is a classic chocolate chip, and my go-to recipe is the first one listed here. Yes, its crispy goodness relies on much-maligned vegetable shortening, and I’ve never lost my love for the result. Out of semi-sweet chocolate chips that day, I rummaged in the pantry and found several bars of bittersweet chocolate, which I chopped into chunks to use as a substitute. Deliciousness happened.
Thank you, Nurse, for your skill and gentleness. I still think a supply of bullets to bite on, or maybe rum-soaked rags to chew, might enhance the customer experience. Just sayin’.
**My original plan was to buy him or her a nice box of chocolates, but the supply available in my town was not special when I went looking. Homemade trumps anything store-bought, anyway.