Valentine’s Day—that sweetest day of the year—is coming. I made a double batch of sugar cookies, cut out in the shape of hearts, of course, with lemon icing on top. I used a recipe from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook, and it’s one that I’ve used for many years. Betty Crocker certainly isn’t trendy, and some of the recipes, especially for the main meals, use ingredients such as cream of mushroom soup, items that good cooks usually stay away from. But there are a surprising number of Betty’s recipes that use real ingredients and are simple but good. I would not dream of getting rid of Betty, and her book is my go-to book for corn bread, French donuts, apple pie, gingerbread, basic muffins, and various cookies.
Naturally, the heart cookies were shared with some of my favorite people, including Dave, the postmaster at the East Winthrop Post Office, where I mailed a couple of boxes of cookies. (We have a post office in Winthrop, which is very good, but as I took Clif to work yesterday, the East Winthrop Post Office was more convenient.) I’ve known Dave for quite a while. When my husband and I were publishing our magazine, Wolf Moon Journal, he was invaluable. Because the East Winthrop Post Office isn’t fully automated, I could just bring in the journals, tell him how many there were to be mailed, pay him, and then let him process the journals at his own pace, which was usually the very same day. Since I always brought in more than a hundred journals, this was no small thing. But Dave loved seeing me come in with all those journals.
“It’s just great for us,” he would say. “It really boosts my circulation.”
Dave was cheerful, he never got flustered to have so many pieces of mail to process, he never seemed hurried, and once he even called to tell me that I might want to check my records because I had sent two journals to the same name at two slightly different addresses. He was right. I had made an error in my data base, and I corrected it. Because we published the journal for seven years, Dave and I became friendly acquaintances, and every time Dave helped me with the journals, I reflected on what a pleasure it was to deal with someone who was good at his job, who did things the right way and was pleasant as well. It actually felt like a gift, something that couldn’t be taken for granted.
But back to the mailing the cookies…Yesterday, I stopped in to ask Dave about the best way to mail those cookies. I only had 1 box and I needed another.
“What about a flat-rate box?” I asked.
“Oh, that would be too expensive,” he said. “I think I have something out back that you could use.”
And sure enough, he found a previously used but clean box in the back room. It was just the right size, and it didn’t cost me a penny.
“Well,” I said, “I guess I better bring in some cookies for you when I come back to mail my packages.”
“If you want to,” he said modestly.
Of course I did. Later that afternoon, I brought him some cookies as well as the packages to be mailed, and he said, “I had a feeling I’d be getting some cookies.”
I replied, “That’s what you get for being so nice.” Cookies as well as packages to be mailed.
A lesson that should be taken to heart by everyone, because let’s face it, as the old saying goes, you do catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
As Dave is this way with all his customers, it’s my guess that he gets a lot of cookies.