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…