Monday, February 27, 2012

Girls Selling Crack

Did I say crack? What I really meant to say is cookies. Girls selling cookies, Girl Scout Cookies to be exact.

Child #1 is a Girl Scout which means that, as I write this post, I have over twenty boxes of Girl Scout Cookies hibernating in my freezer. The presence of all those cookies combined with my fondness for them has led me to think about my own close relationship with those rectangular boxes of prepackaged goodness.

I was a Girl Scout only briefly and I never got to the cookie stage. My love of Girl Scout Cookies didn't hit its stride until after my freshman year in college when I took a job as Camp Counselor/Windsurfing Instructor at a Girl Scout Camp located in a small cove on Catalina Island.

The cove was accessible only by boat or foot (a long hot hike over the island's mountains). What I didn't know when I took the job was that the 'adult' running the place was going to be a twenty-four year old grad student.

Just me and one of the island buffalos
 The majority of the other counselors were students at Smith College, members of a well-known and popular subculture on that campus.

I say well-known, but at the time I was absolutely clueless. It took me half the summer to figure out why almost NONE of my co-counselors ever mentioned past, present or future boyfriends.

That summer was a little like Lord of the Flies. An all girl Lord of the Flies, minus a head on a stick and violence.

In its place we had a couple of speed boats and the California state surplus of Girl Scout Cookies. They were kept in an enormous shed under lock and key. The security system didn't prevent the camp cook from serving cookies for dessert at both lunch and dinner time. In fact, every hike, every walk along the beach and every campfire was accompanied by Samoas, Do Si Dos and Trefoils.

Me and my campers, at least the girls had on hiking gear!
During the day I taught young girls how to windsurf. 'Tuck your tail, bend your knees.'

On breaks I windsurfed out past the cove, weaving in between the moored yachts. The yachties, very old men, most of them practically forty!, would hand out beer and I would make unfulfilled promises to come back later and hang out.

But later never came. Instead we would board the big motor boat. Skipper, her camp name I don't remember her real one, would gun the engine. The boat would hit the waves hard. To sit down was to risk being thrown overboard. We clung to the boat's rails, knees bent and water spraying in our face.

Mid-ocean, past where the yachts were moored, Skipper would cut the motor. We would float on the water and I would share my day's collection of bottles and cans, proving my worth by supplying beer. We ate Girl Scout Cookies, a box for each of us and washed them down with Coors Light and Corona. When we'd gone through all of our rations we'd head back to camp. The bravest of us, those who didn't mind cold water or the feeling of a sand shark slithering out from under your feet when you could touch sand, would dive off the boat and swim into shore.

Recently, I did some research and discovered that camp no longer exists. It was sold. I'm guessing there's a hotel on that particular stretch of beach now. It's okay. It's not really the kind of place you can revisit. As for my daughter, she'll have to develop her own inappropriate relationship with Girl Scout Cookies.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Windsurfing sounds cool! And yes, those cookies are like crack.

Hart Johnson said...

There is a FB graphic of the side of a thin mints box--the ingredients, and circled there is the word 'crack'. I was a Campfire girl and think my town didn't HAVE girl scouts, so until my daughter was one, I hadn't had them before. YEAH Samoas!

Love your camp experience--too funny.

Anne Gallagher said...

You had me with the title of this post. My mother always gets hit hard by the girls up the street but she can't eat cookies so guess who gets them all...yay me. I remember last year I ate a whole box in one sitting. Oops. maybe that's TMI.

Ciara said...

It is sad that so many camps are gone now. Windsurfing sounds fantastic. Oh, and I suffer from a GSC addiction, too.

Sarah Tokeley said...

This sounds like a fantastic memory for you. We don't have Girl Scouts in England, we have Girl Guides, and they don't sell cookies. Sadly.

Beylit said...

I was never a girl scout, I just didn't see the appeal. I went to two meetings to try and figure it out, and was sort of repulsed by the lame macaroni art that seemed to be that troupes driving force. I may have been misguided by one troupes behavior, but no changing that now.

But then there are those cookies, which I am not sure anyone can resist. Even my husband who says he hates sweets is not immune to the siren song of Thin Mints.

He says I am cruel and calloused as I will turn away the adorable little red headed neighbor girls when they show up with their cookie order forms. I maintain that one of us has to be strong, plus we still have three boxes in the freezer from the year before. He is a sucker though, and so I do not think we will ever be without a box of frozen girl scout cookies.

Tamara Narayan said...

I hated selling GSCs as a kid--too shy. My favorite are the peanut-butter ones covered in chocolate, but this year I've taken a vow not to buy any. I'm trying to cut back on eating processed foods.

Angela Cothran said...

I was never a girl scout, but I'm a HUGE fan of the Thin Mints :)

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, windsurfing was a blast.

Hart, it's so true!

Anne, lucky you ;)

Ciara, I know. I wish I could help with the addiction but I'm just an enabler.

Sarah, that is so sad that I'm tempted to send you a box!

Beylit, I'm impressed that you've managed not to eat the boxes in your freezer!

Tamara, me too. These cookies will be the death of me. Literally!

Angela, thin mints are the best.

Alison DeLuca said...

This is why I laughed : I am selling these cookies right now. Which means that in a few weeks my house will be filled with "crack.

Will I be able to keep my hands off the Samoas? And the Thin Mints? I don't know. Send me good karma and will power, please.

Great column as always, Johanna!

Pame Brennan said...

1. NEVER read the calorie counts for those little slices of goodness.
2. NEVER eat the entire sleeve of cookies but if you do, reread #1 again!

Better still, as soon as she delivers those cookies, destroy the boxes where the calorie count is displayed so that you will never know the grand totals of what you consume!

The Bookworm said...

lol Johanna. they are like crack! so addictive. I've actually just ordered a few boxes myself.
Sounds like fun times :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ha, ha ... I knew when I read your post title that it was referring to Girl Scout cookies.

I have to admit, the cookies don't appeal to me much. Maybe the lemon ones, but I'd really rather eat cheese and crackers than any kind of cookie.

Your camp experience sounds wonderful -- what awesome memories!

Botanist said...

I like the mints best. Not only is child #1 a Girl Guide (now a Pathfinder) but wife #1 (and only!) is a leader, so our garage is regularly overrun with supplies for the whole unit.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Mmm, I love Girl Scout cookies; I just bought three boxes today. I figure that since they're only sold once a year it's okay to splurge on them.
I never actually became a Girl Scout because I never made it past the Brownie stage. I hated selling cookies because I didn't like asking my neighbors to buy them. And they would often say that they had already bought Girl Scout cookies, even though I was the only one selling them in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I do like the Somoas. I can eat an entire box in one sitting. Not a pleasant thought, but true.

Unknown said...

Wow, that sounds awesome! Why were my girl scout camps never like that!?

But yeah, I only go to the grocery store during the day now. If I go after school is out I get bombarded on all sides by little girls wearing cookie costumes, and I can't say no!