The Long Arm of the Coconut Macaroon
August 27th, 2010

This is the story of two blogs and a cookie. 

A couple of weeks ago fellow blogger Jane reposted a piece she wrote last winter about a Random Act of Kindness.  The second time around WordPress picked it up and featured it, driving huge numbers of readers to Jane’s site and leaving their own RAOK stories.  It was really inspiring.

I wanted desperately to jump on this do-gooder bandwagon, but the deck seemed stacked against me.  I simply couldn’t find the right opportunity to inject my goodness into the world.  I saw an old woman walking home from the grocery store on an especially hot day and offered her a ride.  She gave me the sign of the cross and said, “Bless you” in heavily accented English, but turned me down.  I rarely go through drive-thru windows where I might pay for someone’s order.  I didn’t see elderly people needing help crossing the street.  I was striking out left and right.  I decided to stop obsessing.

Then last week my sister Anne wrote an impassioned post about how a simple coconut macaroon helped her through an especially difficult year of graduate school.  I was moved by her post and decided that I needed to make my own batch of macaroons.  Later that day I got an e-mail from Anne which was a forwarded message from my 90-year-old grandfather.  A reader of her blog, he thought her macaroons sounded delicious and asked for the recipe.  Having made them myself I recognized that this was slightly more complicated than your average cookie recipe and potentially out of the culinary reach of a man who has probably never cooked anything more complicated than a bowl of oatmeal.

And then it hit me!

The recipe made nearly 30 cookies.  GAP is not a coconut lover and had no interest in the macaroons.  I have no business eating 30 cookies by myself.  And I could only in good conscience allow IEP (who, it turns out, is a coconut lover) to eat little bites here and there.  The answer?  A care package.

I transferred several macaroons to a Ziplock bag, wrote an accompanying note, and went to the UPS Store.  A couple of days later a truck pulled up in front of Granddaddy’s house and handed him a box that he was not at all expecting. 

That evening I received an e-mail from my grandfather which said, in part, “I couldn’t imagine what it could be as it wasn’t Xmas or my birthday and I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon.” (As an aside, I just love that my 90-year-old grandfather e-mails and shops online.) “Imagine my surprise to open it and find it was a macaroon package from my oldest grandchild.  I had one for dessert and it was delicious.  In fact I had to make a big decision whether to eat another or not – so they would last a little longer.  Thank you so much.  I think this is the nicest ‘unexpected’ present I have ever received.”

It wasn’t anonymous.  It wasn’t for a stranger.  It wasn’t even entirely random.  But I think it captured the spirit of the little movement that Jane started.  Thanks, Jane, for providing me with such inspiration.  And thanks, Anne, for speaking directly to my sweet tooth.  You were both unwitting accomplices in making an old man very happy.

6 Responses to “The Long Arm of the Coconut Macaroon”

  1. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    I think your granddaddy rocks! I love that he orders stuff from Amazon and emails. You rock too, by the way.

  2. Anne@lifeinpencil.com Says:

    I agree…you rock. I heard from him today, and yes, he loved them. I think he does do some cooking, but egg whites over a double-boiler might have been a bit much.

  3. BigLittleWolf Says:

    This is perfect. Now we need the recipe.

  4. Gale Says:

    BLW – Sorry, my oversight. The recipe is linked in Anne’s original macaroon post, but I should have included it. You can find it here.

  5. Jane Says:

    Yes, as predicted, this made a WONDERFUL post! Thank you for sharing it with us. Sometimes, it’s the little things, even for the people we know, that can make all the difference!

  6. Elizabeth@Life in Pencil Says:

    This is why I love snail-mail. It reminds me of when I used to send my own grandpa oatmeal cookies — his particular favorite — just because. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but it brightened his day and made us all feel good. I gotta make these cookies — maybe you’ll start some sort of cookie version of “Pay It Forward?”