It was about the size of my hand. A golden brown shortbread cookie shaped like a mallard duck and filled with raspberry jam. Just a cookie, but as far as cookies go, it was extraordinary.
As I looked at the cookie I held, it seemed as if the relentlessly ticking clock on the wall held its breath with respect. As delicious and exquisitely made as this small treat was, the truly remarkable ingredient of this cookie was the memories it held.
This was a signature duck cookie from the B-Line Diner at the Peabody Orlando Hotel. One of the last batches to be baked before the Peabody Orlando becomes a Hyatt. Today seemed like a good day to watch the DuckMaster lead the ducks in their famous march into the lobby fountain one more time. Then, it was off to the B-line Diner for four duck cookies to bring home. One for each of the Griffin family.
As I took in the aroma of the raspberry filling, memories rushed into my mind. Once again it was a stormy afternoon in the lobby. The rain pouring across the glass atrium, the boys, Tim and I sat very contentedly by the lobby fountain eating duck cookies while listening to the music of the piano that sometimes played all by itself. The boys watched the ducks swim in the fountain as the red carpet and steps were set up in preparation for the famous march back up to the Duck Palace.
With the first bite of delicious shortbread and raspberry, vivid moments by the wading pool enveloped me in a wave of precious memories. There we were, enjoying a picnic lunch at our own private table under a shady tree on the deck of the pool. The boys’ laughter as they played under the waterfall filled my ears. I could almost smell the mixture of sunscreen and chlorine unique to those summer days. Those were the days we spent swimming and drinking cold lemonade in Peabody plastic cups and Mom and Dad joined us for espresso brought from home in a Thermos. Days filled with childhood. Those were the days where Forever lived. We accomplished nothing but being together, loving each other and enjoying the pure peaceful moments.
A few more bites, I was once again swimming in the clear blue water of the swimming pool with Tony in my arms floating on his back. I remember the feeling of his soft baby face against my cheek and neck. Above us, Tim was wildly launching Kevin into the air for a joyful jump into the pool. It was about the time he had stopped being afraid of the water. There were races from one end of the long pool to the other. Music and palm trees all around embracing us. The aroma of the powder from the locker room.
Suddenly, I noticed I had come to the last bite of the cookie. I realized it may be the very last bite of the last duck cookie of my life. It’s just a cookie. The world is filled with cookies…delicious cookies. Life is filled with moments…wonderful, precious moments. I swallowed the last amazing bite of that cookie.
I took a deep breath and smiled. I felt blessed and cheated at the same time. I was so glad to have had it and to enjoy it all one more time, but could not help reprimanding myself for not holding onto it and making it last a bit longer. The clock began to tick away again.
It was just a cookie. It was so good…and it was gone too quickly.