94: A Face Good Enough to Eat

94: A Face Good Enough to Eat

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

A Face Good Enough to Eat

The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.

~Author Unknown

When I was in elementary school in Saginaw, Michigan, back in the 1950’s, I had a neighbor and classmate named Paul Davis. His birthday was December 16th and every year for his birthday treat he would bring wonderful cookies to school. They looked like Santa’s face, complete with raisin eyes and coconut beards.

I would always make sure to walk home with Paul on those days, just in case someone had been absent and he had an extra cookie or two. Somehow, one year, one cookie survived long enough for me to show my mother. She got the recipe from Paul’s mother and bought the special cookie cutter at Morley Brothers, our wonderful all-purpose department store.

Over the years, my mother and I continued to make these cookies. After I got married I bought my own cookie cutter. We had three daughters and the cookies remained a must at Christmastime. I was a stay-at-home mother in those days and would make the Santa cookies for my daughters’ class parties. Some special teachers would get a plate of them years after they taught our daughters. Eventually, my mother gave me her Santa cookie cutter and I guarded both of them because Morley’s had closed years before and we never saw anything even resembling these wonderful Santa faces at any other store.

Several years ago in late December, I had made multiple batches and the two plastic cutters were sitting out waiting to be hand washed and put away for another year. My oldest daughter decided to help out by loading the dishwasher and she put them in there! They both melted a bit and came out totally unusable.

For some reason, I had kept the original paper insert from the cookie cutter box. So, I knew that they were from Aunt Chick’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now, it was time to see if that company was still in business. Honestly, I wasn’t optimistic but if I couldn’t replace them, then a long-standing tradition would come to an abrupt halt.

I wrote to the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and inquired about Aunt Chick’s cookie cutters. I enclosed a copy of the insert that I’d kept for so many years. Within days I received a reply. They even sent me newspaper clippings about Aunt Chick (she had died in 1982) and they told me that the cookie cutters were still available at The Final Touch in Tulsa. They also told me that Aunt Chick’s granddaughter, Pat Kimbrel, had taken over the business and it was now called Chickadees Cookery Company, based in Irving, Texas.

I was elated! I phoned The Final Touch and explained what had happened and said that I wanted to buy ten Santa cookie cutters. The woman told me that they were only available in sets (Santa’s face, a star, a tree, and a stocking). But I didn’t want the other designs.

So, I decided to call Chickadees Cookery Company. I was able to talk with Pat Kimbrel and tell her about the happy memories connected with her grandmother’s cookie cutters. She said that she hoped to get them back into distribution once again. Through Pat I was able to buy four Santa cutters. Then, several weeks later, I received a note from The Final Touch saying that they found six Santa cutters and asked if I still wanted them.

I phoned to say “Yes!” and sent a check. So, within a few months I went from having no Santa cutters to having ten of them!

It was wonderful to be able to do business with two women who went out of their way to satisfy a customer. And, now the family tradition of the Santa face cookie cutters continues not only in our house but also in the home of our oldest daughter, who has since married. At this point, it’s three generations strong.

So Happy Birthday this December 16th to Paul Davis wherever you are. I’ll bet you never knew that your old friend, neighbor and classmate would perpetuate the cookie tradition for nearly a half-century. Thanks to you and your mother and with the help of some dear women in both Oklahoma and Texas, we’ll be enjoying our very special Santa face cookies for many years to come.

~Tracy Moeller Cary

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