300lb disease-ridden feral pigs that are eating New York state farmers out of crops, and utterly gushy Olive Garden reviews out of North Dakota, you might have heard that the Girl Scouts turned 100 yesterday.
I never became a full-fledged Girl Scout, but I WAS a Brownie for 1 glorious year in the 3rd grade. And man, I loved that little polyester brown uniform!
Every other Tuesday was like a holiday because my troop would meet, and I could wear my snazzy duds to school. I loved the sweater. And the Peter Pan shirt collar. And the orange snap-on necktie. And the beanie hat. And the shapeless pants. And the matching mini-Brownie doll my mom got me from JCPenney.
But most of all, I loved the sash.
I still have it! It’s in a bin in my brother’s basement with all my other childhood memorabilia. I recall it having a “gold” Girl Scout logo pin and a bunch of badges, all lovingly sewn on by my mom.
But only 2 of the badges really stand out in my mind, 30 (ahem) years later...
The first I remember I earned for gardening at a greenhouse. I know this because my small hands swelled up while I was doing it. Turns out I was allergic to the cactus we were planting. How could a girl from suburban New Jersey (by way of The Bronx) possibly be expected to know that?
The second I remember earning for selling the most cookies in my troop. (I believe it said “go big or go home” at the bottom in teeny tiny embroidery.)
But really, it’s my dad who should have earned the badge.
I wasn’t much for going door-to-door. Not when my high school class decided to sell stinky green bandannas as a fundraiser (that’ll be $40, mom… Go Mustangs!). Or when my CCD class decided to give us all cardboard rice bowls during Lent to help feed the poor (yes, parents, I’ll take ALL your spare change… Africa thanks you). And certainly not when I was 8 and it was time to stimulate the cookie economy.
That’s where my dad came in.
Armed with nothing but a glossy fold-out card covered in irresistible cookie porn (aka Samoas, Tag-a-longs, Thin Mints, and Trefoils), my dad went to his office to sell those suckers. He could sell ice to an Eskimo (or are they Inuits?).
Turns out he could also sell a dumptruck of cookies to a bunch of overweight, middle-aged Wall Street dudes with a sweet tooth and 20 extra beans weighing down their alligator wallets.
If I recall, they had to attach 2 additional legal-sized pages for all the orders. A few months later, the Girl Scout bakers birthed out our jumbo-sized order and my poor dad had to schlep massive bags of cookie boxes into NYC for a week straight.
In all our cookie-fueled enthusiasm, I don’t think we thought that part sufficiently through.
The Girls have come a long way in all this time. I hear there’s even an app to locate a cookie-dealer near you, which sounds WAY riskier than going door-to-door in your neighborhood, but who am I to judge? My dad was a 37 year-old man-Brownie for a day. I never had to lift a finger, except to push sweet, sweet Samoas into my toothless mouth.
(And for the record, I will pay it forward by buying all the stale candy bars, ill-fitting t-shirts, car wash coupons, and cheap gift wrapping sets that my niece and nephew will ever get saddled with selling.)
So here’s to the Girl Scouts (and to my dad) – who have inspired my lifelong love of cookies. And the color brown.
Happy 100th birthday!
Were YOU ever a Brownie? Or do you just like to eat them? No matter, list your go-to GS cookie below... for me, coconutty Samoas and peanutbuttery Tag-a-longs are in a dead heat.
Tags: family, food, holidays, pop culture