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Never forget to sift the dry ingredients

Marcy Bos, Grade 5.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Marcy Bos
December 06, 2017 - 12:30 AM

I was baking cookies yesterday with my kiddos; it's usually a gong show that ends up with some sort of chocolate chip war and me vowing to buy store-bought henceforth.

At one point I reminded my son, Jack, to sift the flour and baking soda together and I remembered a time from my childhood.

Memories are funny that way. They just pop up and you're taken back.

When I was in Grade 5, we lived beside a lady who we all called Mrs. B because we could not pronounce her name.

She was a cranky woman.

It may have been due to the fact a lot of neighbourhood kids cut through her yard. She would come outside with a broom waving it in the air and we would run away laughing.

One day I came home after school, it was the 15th of December — I know this because that is always the date when Mom would decorate for Christmas. It was my Sister's birthday and it was tradition.

After admiring the sparkling lights and enjoying the smell of the pine tree I noticed a dish on the piano. It had the most beautiful stained glass cookies on it.

I asked my mom who made them and she told me Mrs. B.

I looked at my sister with wide eyes and she leaned over and whispered: "You don't think she poisoned them do you?"

I was just about to reach out for one when my mom told me to take two bags of groceries she had picked up for Mrs. B over to her home.

Whyyyyy? No way, no way was I going. Why couldn't one of my sister's go?

My mom just raised her brow at me.

Crap.

Why did I have to do all the grunt work just because I was the oldest?

Grumbling, I got dressed and stomped next door and then stopped abruptly at the steps of Mrs. B's home.

All of a sudden my heart started beating hard: What if she hit me with her broom? What if she lectured me about her trampled petunias from the summer?

Nope, no way was I dealing with that. What if I just left them by the door? Surely she would find them?

Then there she was, staring at me.

"Are you going to stand there all day like a statue?" she barked.

Shaking my head I began to walk up the stairs. I thrust the bags at her and mumbled "Momwantedyoutohavethem" and turned around to leave.

Then I heard: "You might as well come in and help me unload these."

Darn, so close.

I turned around and walked back up the stairs and into the lair of Mrs. B.

"Well make sure you take off your boots, silly girl," she chastised me as I had just kept following her onto her immaculate wood floors.

Oops.

When we hit the kitchen she put the bags on her table and started pulling out the items.

"Well, they're not going to put away themselves."

Okaaayyyy.

So I pulled things out and handed them to her, cursing the fact I was born 11 months older than my sister; it could have been her here in this misery.

Finally, when everything was tucked away, she asked me to sit down.

Nooooooo.

She made me some tea, making it just how I like it creamy and sugary.

Maybe she wasn't as shrewish as I supposed?

We sat in silence until I mustered the courage.

"The cookies, the stained glass ones? How do you make them?"

All of sudden she smiled and said, "I'll show you."

Then there I was, with a starched apron on, clean hands and listening to Mrs. B as she directed me along.

"Never forget to sift the dry ingredients," she cautioned.

Suddenly I felt bad, I felt ashamed.

"I am sorry for cutting through your yard," I blurted out.

She smiled and patted my hand with her soft one and said, "You won't do it again."

I never did again.

After that, I would often go to Mrs. B's house for a baking lesson... and tea, lots of sugary, creamy tea.

She taught me a lot about baking, but also about getting to know the real person and not the one you think they are.

Not long after my family had to move.

The day everything was packed up and the moving van was ready to go I ran over to Mrs. B's house.

She met me at the door with tears in her eyes.

She hugged me, hard.

I hugged her just as hard.

As I turned to leave I heard;

"Never to forget to sift."

I promise I haven't, Mrs. B.

— Marcy Bos lives in Vernon and recently found herself reminiscing about her childhood. The story below, which Marcy was kind enough to share with us, is a memory from when she lived in Saskatchewan.


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