Two days ago we got invited to a party with the Stanley Cup at the Garden (the photo of Jim and me with the Cup is here), which was very, very cool. While we were sitting at a table at the party, I noticed that the kids in attendance were totally jazzed about the special Bruins cookies that party guests could pick up after getting their photo taken. “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “I know Jim and Bill and Judy and I aren’t going to eat our Bruins cookies…what if I brought them to the library and raffled them off to the library kids who come every day after school? Hmmmmm…” Especially perfect for a library, since the Bruins were the official sponsors of the Massachusetts summer reading program for the last three summers.
So I carefully carried home three of the cookies, making sure not to crack them or melt the frosting, and first thing yesterday morning I put them on display at the children’s desk with raffle tickets and a bucket (and the photo of me and Jim with the Cup), asking that only kids enter and that each kid only enter once.
And, boy, was that raffle a hit. I had planned to draw the three winning names at 4:00 this afternoon, but one of my favorite fifth graders came up to me at 3:30 and said, “Abby. When are you drawing the names for the cookies.” Not a question, mind you, but a statement. I told her I was planning on 4:00, and she looked me in the eye and didn’t say anything. “Are you leaving before 4?” I asked. Yes was the answer, so I told her that I would just ask the other kids in the room if they had entered the raffle – to give everyone a fair shot – and that I would then draw the names.
A few minutes of happy chaos ensued, as the dozen or so afterschool kids swarmed the desk so that they could each fill out a raffle ticket. I had thought that maybe I would duck into my office to quietly pull the winning names, but as I looked around it was obvious that was NOT an option: the crowd wanted to witness the drawing to be sure it was fair. So I took a deep breath and pulled the name…of a child who wasn’t in attendance. Time to move fast – the crowd looked ready to turn on me. I drew the second name – of a fifth grade boy who clearly is a huge Bruins fan. He chose his cookie (the Stanley Cup cookie) with triumph, and I drew the last name. This time a sweet third grader won, and grinned from ear to ear as he chose his cookie (the Bruins banner).
Luckily, the non-winners were mostly older kids and all excellent sports, bearing their cookie loss with aplomb. And joy, too, because it was such a fun spontaneous moment that none of us had expected on a rainy afternoon. The fifth grade winner let his friends look at his cookie before leaving happily, and the third grader spent a good half hour looking at books on the shelves while holding tightly on to his cookie.
And then an hour or so later, the little girl whose name I drew first came in, and I asked her if she had gotten my phone message. No, she said, looking puzzled, so I held up her cookie and told her that she had won. She was so happy that she couldn’t speak – she went over to her mom with the cookie, all smiles and shining eyes. The family stayed looking at books for a while, and the little girl held her cookie the whole time, cracking it a bit in the plastic bag while she thought out loud about how she would eat it: a little bit each night, with some ice cream. Kind of reminded me of Frances holding the Chompo bar on her way home from the store…
All in all, it was much, much more fun than if we grownups had eaten the cookies Tuesday night!