Fruit Basket Turnover

By Debra Paulk

         Eating a cookie makes me feel like I’m grinning inside. The glee that bubbles up from the sugar rush cannot be matched by any other food. Good chocolate gives off a rosy warmth; coffee jolts a buzz. Cakes and pies make me feel fat, and donuts leave a guilty aftertaste of regret. But nibbling on a cookie . . . ah! That is just pure joy!

            To me, the word, “cookie” even sounds like joy. The dictionary agrees, defining joy with synonyms like “delight”, “jubilation”, and “happiness”. These are words that also describe the pleasant experience of eating a cookie. Daniel Webster could have easily described the word “joy” by explaining, “It’s the feeling you get when you eat a small round cake-like treat.”

            Realizing how much I love a cookie, you can understand my utter disappointment when, of all things, a fruit basket was delivered on my birthday! For a week I had anticipated the cookie basket that a friend said she had ordered for me. When the box arrived, I ripped greedily through the cardboard and snatched off the cellophane with hungry expectation. But when the box was opened, a lovely basket of pears, oranges, and apples offered a glum greeting. Drats! Where were the cookies?

            It was impossible to imagine my friend playing such a cold-hearted trick on her cookie-loving sister. “There must be a cookie in here somewhere,” I thought, rummaging carefully through the fruit basket to avoid scattering the messy basket grass all over my office. Each piece of fruit was removed, one pear and apple at a time. But, still no cookie was found. Not even one! When every piece of fresh fruit and cellophaned bag of dried plums and apricots had been taken out of the basket, nothing was left but the colored waxed straw.

            Though I tried not to let my joy crumble, the earlier euphoria was beginning to fall apart around the edges. No doubt, my friend was laughing herself silly at the thought of my disappointment in receiving the cookieless gift basket. Resigned to the fate of a fruity snack, I picked up an apple and tried to envision it as a temptation. Oh bother . . . a healthy nibble just wasn’t as much fun when the taste buds were all set for a cookie.

            Lifting the basket to dump the straw in the trash, the weight was surprising. Something else was definitely in the basket. “Cookies!” I shouted with jubilation, now confident that my friend had not forgotten to send my favorite treat. Tossing shred helter-skelter, I excitedly dug through the layers of shred and foam peanuts that had stuffed the huge basket. At last, on the very bottom of the basket, the sugary treasure was discovered! There, filling the entire basket, were two big oval tins of cookies, stacked and tied with a ribbon. Oh happy day! Joy! Joy! JOY!

            The basket proved to be more than a good laughing prank from a friend. To this day, when troubles are piled high like fruit in a basket, I recall the elation of finding those cookies buried underneath the shred. Just like the concealed cookies, joy can be hidden under layers of problems. But when we persevere in digging to the bottom of tribulations, the reward of joy waits as the prize.

            Whenever we feel as if life has delivered us a basket with no sweets, let’s not let our cookies crumble. Keep the faith and believe there is happiness just under the shred. Joy is already packed in your basket . . . just keep digging!

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