It’s Triple Shot Thursday today! Not only is it Chocolate Chip Cookie Day but it’s also National Coast Guard Day PLUS it’s mine and Lola’s anniversary! 9 years married (15 together) – I can hardly believe it.
I woke up early to get a jump on the day and to start baking cookies. This whole quest thing is already messing up my schedule – staying up late, waking up early. That’s why I can call it a quest – a noble cause – because there is sacrifice in what we do. It’s 6:30 am and I’m pre-heating my oven to 375.
I’m going the Tollhouse cookie route because frankly that’s a chocolate chip cookie to me. That’s what the greatest chocolate chip cookie maker I have ever known used to make. That would be my grandmother (Gram).
Gram worked a paring knife more deftly then anyone I have ever known. One of her treats was to cut up a grapefruit and and orange for me for breakfast. She’d work that knife around the grapefruit, freeing the pieces from the rinds and guts, and she’d always end up with perfect little wedges of grapefruit. It was a sweet little start to the day. Then I’d watch her peel potatoes or more often, make cookies. Idle hands were the work of the devil to her, so she was always making something (until of course her Stories came on at 2).
She gave me this advice which has always been a truth in my life: “If you can read, you can cook.” That always made sense to me and always removed any doubts I had in the kitchen. Sure, I’ve messed up recipes before, but I’m never intimidated by a recipe. There’s more to being a good cook than just reading recipes – nuances about the kitchen, instincts, passion, etc. – but not being afraid to get in there is always a start.
So, the oven was preheated before 7 am this morning and the trays of cookies were carefully loaded in. I made a double-batch recipe which according to the bag (where you still find the Tollhouse recipe) would yield about 10 dozen cookies. I think I ended up with about 7 dozen – not sure what went wrong (maybe Lola binged on cookie dough when I wasn’t looking) although I think they are not usually accurate on those yields. I packaged them up neatly into some plastic containers and was ready for the day by 9 am. Chocolate Chip Cookies celebrated.
Later in the day, Lola and I headed out for our anniversary celebration. We packed up the cookies and headed south to Point Judith, RI which is about 45 minutes away. There is a Coast Guard station there – a beautiful spot but an actual working and busy station. It’s actually where my Dad was stationed when he was in the Coast Guard. In fact it was here where my father single-handedly saved the East Coast from a Nazi submarine attack thanks to his eagle-eye lookout skills and quick alarm sounding actions. At least that’s one of the many tales he would tell. It was probably actually a whale in the water, but I like to think my Dad really saved the world. Maybe it was a Nazi Whale?
The Point Judith Coast Guard station is a place where I can still feel my Dad. It brings back memories of us visiting there on a vacation where we walked around with him, but it’s also the spot of so many of his memories and stories. He always seemed to love his time with the Coast Guard. I never really considered the actual dangers he faced there – being out at sea at the worst of times to help those who were in distress. That must have been pretty scary for a kid just out of his teens. But the tales my Dad would tell were always of fun and of silliness. Wish I could hear more of them or I wish those who never met him (Lola, my nephew Zack specifically) could hear him tell them. That would be a celebration.
The Coast Guard station is gated now thanks to post 9/11 security. You used to be able to walk around the grounds. When we got there, we had to walk to the front gate, press a button and yell into an intercom. It was a silly conversation because for some reason the intercom was full of static whenever the Coast Guard came on.
“US Coast Guard Point Judith Station. How can I help you?”
“We’ve got cookies for you?”
“Please say again.”
“We made some cookies for you. We know it’s Coast Guard Day and wanted to give you cookies.”
“Cookies! We have cookies!”
Lola and I waited. We weren’t sure what was happening. Did they buzz us in and we missed the signal? Were we supposed to just leave the cookies? Were they rescuing the Andrea Gail and were we in the middle of it going, “We’ve got cookies!” Soon enough though a buzzer went off and the gate slowly rolled back and a man in street clothes was walking out towards us from the back of the building. He was a kid really, in shorts and tank top, some tattoos, short but strong looking but friendly and a nice smile. He asked how he could help so we gave him our spiel. We said we knew it was National Coast Guard Day and we just wanted to bring them some cookies as a little gesture of thanks for all they do. I told him my Dad was stationed here in the late 40’s and he made a quick comment about that being the fun days. I wonder what that meant? Was he referring to the great Nazi submarine attack defense? Is that the tale that all new recruits here when they get to Point Judith? We handed over the cookies said thanks again and then we parted ways. He seemed grateful and we felt we had done something nice. Coast Guard Day celebrated.
We then headed over to South Kingston, RI where we had an anniversary dinner at the Matunuck Oyster Bar. This is a place that has probably the best produced local television commercial I have ever seen. It really does a great job touting the freshness of the restaurant and their commitment to local produce and farming. Happy to say, they didn’t disappoint. It’s in a great spot – right on a tidal river so you just feel beauty when you are there. Place is clean and modern and incredibly well staffed. May have been the best Clam Chowder we have had since our wedding – nine years ago to the very day (wedding chowder shout out to the talented Mark Rodrigues). We highly recommend the restaurant but just to warn you, it’s tough to get in. 40 minute wait at 4:30 on a Thursday – but worth it.
This is where I got to celebrate my Lola. Or at least celebrate us. It’s nice to be nine years into a marriage and still look forward to every moment with your spouse. I’d say it’s been a fun ride. The ride has been a bit bumpy – a lot has gone down over the last decade – but we’ve stayed strong throughout, we’ve managed to laugh together every day and at the end of every day, my Lola still makes my life fun and full of love. I hope I can celebrate her every day.
Tomorrow: National Oyster Day