Comforting Words: Cookie Wisdom

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cookie Wisdom

Eating out or buying take-out was not something we did a lot of when I was a child as my mother could not afford. The rarity of this probably explains why I can vividly recall the first time I had food from a Chinese take-out restaurant called Pagoda.

The food was great but it was the fortune cookies that held my fascination – what a concept! My mother guarded them until my plate was empty and then gave me the honour of cracking them open and reading them aloud as she could not read that well.

She, my mother, truly believed that the wisdom contained in these cookies would impact her life if taken seriously so she would listen attentively to every word and then secure the little bit of paper. It was only later that I would learn that she equally cherished the numbers at the back. She would use them in the hopes of winning “pick-a-pow,” a game of chance sold by a Chinese man at the market.

I remembered this recently as I saw a fortune cookie on our kitchen counter. It was a leftover from an impromptu lunch Juds and I had the week before. This is a new thing for us, having impromptu and inexpensive meals at little restaurants around town, and we have been making a list of where the best menu items are. Unable to finish this particular lunch, we had it packed and A., my daughter, and Angello shared it leaving this fortune cookie.

Almost a week later, feeling “peckish,” a Jamaican colloquialism for wanting to snack, after having a very, very small breakfast based on doctor’s orders (that is another story) I spotted this lonesome cookie and snatched it up. No one loves fortune cookies more than Angello, my dog, and so he demanded his share, leaving me with little more than the strip of wisdom.

The week was not going too well for me as I was feeling under the weather and a bit tense about the changes in our lives. My greatest desire was for ‘this’ – all that it represented – to pass. Only a few days before my daughter informed me that she was not returning to college in the fall and was moving out (again) but this time to set up house. Added to the anxiety and some amount of anger that I was feeling about my job search and the full brunt of the emotional stress of hospital chaplaincy, my spirit was waning.

Thinking (and hoping) that maybe this fortune cookie held the lucky numbers for the lottery, which was over Cdn$14 million – enough to ‘solve' my problems – I was not too upset with Angello for eating most of it as I read the words of wisdom.

As my mother did years ago, I bought a lottery ticket with the numbers from the cookie but it was the words of the wisdom that lifted my weakening spirit.

“Nature, time and patience are the three greatest physicians.”

Like my mother, maybe the fortune cookies will not win me a million dollars but it seems they do have the right words at the right time.

The moral of this story: You don’t need a guru buy a fortune cookie!




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