Saint Charles Children’s Hospital Cookies.
Read the sign above the booth, that sat right outside the mall.
The sign was handmade, the words were colored in red and green. The menu was penciled in.
The Foster Family had teamed up with the hospital, to raise money for Christmas presents for the children.
Mrs. Allana Foster was an excellent baker. With the help of her four kids, they baked enough cookies for the booth, at least they hoped they did. Though if they didn’t, then Allana would just go back home to bake more.
The booth was for the children to do something new and helpful this Christmas season, Mr. Jerry Foster and his wife weren’t planning to stick around much, which was perfect, because the kids would be busy, so they could get Christmas presents taken care of.
Besides, their oldest child, Helen, was sixteen, plenty old enough to take care of the booth, and the three younger kids.
Allana had just left, and the kids were putting the last touches to the booth. Helen gave a quick look around.
It was surprisingly quiet for a saturday morning. Then again, it was pretty early in the morning.
“Put your jackett back on, Hannah.” Helen commanded her sister “You’ll freeze.”
“But i’m not cold.” Hannah argued.
“That's because you’re working.” Helen said as she helped Hannah back into her Jackett. “It makes you warm.”
The first customer to their little booth was a tall, young man. He quickly bought a dozen cookies, two each of their six different kinds.
“These are cool.” he said, as he paid the twenty dollars for the dozen “I like how each flavor is a different shape of Christmas cookies.”
“Thank you.” the kids called as the man left.
The next customer was a mother and her two children., Henry, Helen’s ten year old brother, quickly put their cookies in a bag.
A few minutes later, their next customer came. It was a woman in her late twenties, Helen guessed. Her blond hair had red stripes, all through it. Helen also noticed a few different ivy like tattoos on her.
“How much for the cookies?” she asked.
“Two dollars a cookie.” Hannah said “twenty dollars for a dozen.”
“I’d like a dozen, then.” she said.
“Robin!” a voice behind the girl called “Where did you go?”
“Over here, guys.” the woman, Robin called over her shoulder “Come pick out two cookies, my treat.”
Three men and another woman, came over to the booth. All of them were bundled up in coats, scarf, and hats.
“Two cookie, you said?” one man, with gray hair asked. Robin nodded her head. “Then I’ll take a chocolate chip candy cane, and a peanut butter and m&m christmas tree.”
“I’ll get them.” Hayley, Helen’s other sister and twin to Hannah said . Careful as she could, she put the two cookies in a box, with Christmas pictures all over it.
The other woman in the group, who was tall, and had black hair poking out from under her snow hat, said “I want a gingerbread man, and a sugar cookie snowman.”
“My turn to get them.” Hannah informed. Carefully she put the two cookies in the same box.
The second man in the group was next. He was shorter than the others, and donned a pair glasses.
“I want a double chocolate reindeer and a sugar free oats raisins Christmas wreath.” he ordered.
Hayley again took up the tongs they used and put his cookies into the box.
“What do you want, Boss?” Robin asked the last man in the group.
He was the tallest and, the only one who wasn’t wearing a hat. He had brown hair and brown eyes that looked over the different kinds of cookies.
“I’ll take chocolate chip, and a peanut butter m&m.” He said smiling at the kids in the booth. Hannah carefully put the cookies into the box.
“You still need two more.” Hayley reported.
“You haven’t picked two yet.” the Gray haired man said to Robin.
“I know. I just can’t decide which ones I want.” Robin thought “I’ll take a chocolate chip, and a double chocolate.”
Hayley put her cookies in the box, and put the lid on. Robin handed Henry the money.
“Thank you for coming.” Hannah said handing the box over.
“Thank you for the cookies.” Robin replied.
“And thank you for doing such good and admirable job.” the Tall Boss man said kindly.
After they left, the booth’s next customers were an elderly couple. They bought a couple cookies, commenting on how they reminded them of their grandchildren.
Next was a store clerk, who had seen them, and had made his way down on his break, to buy a box for his coworkers.
Next came a garbage man. He was rather short, and had a black beard, that covered his face, but he was very kind to the kids, all though he was a little smelly.
As people came, the four kids kept their post. Henry was the casher, taking care of the money. Hannah and Hayley took turns with the cookies, and with talking with the customers.
And Helen just supervised the lot of them, which for once wasn’t very hard to do. The girls were enjoying their job, so they mostly stayed out of trouble, excluding the time they almost started a food fight.
Anyways, the next customers were an average height woman, her short blond hair swishing in the slight breeze that started blowing, and a quite tall man, with long brown hair and a beard to match.
“Oh, let's get some cookies.” the women excitedly said to the man.
“Allright.” the man agreed, smiling at the woman, as she bounced on her toes, smiling up at him. “But only if we get some for the girls.”
“Deal!” the Woman said. Turning to the kids, specifically the two twins. “Okay I’ll have a sugar cookie.”
“Make that two.” The man smirked “you’ll eat the others if you can only have one.”
“Fine.” the woman said with a fake eye roll. Turning back to the booth, the woman said “ I think Pepper will like the reindeer, so can we have two of those.”
“And two Candy cane cookies, for Jean.” the man ordered.
“What about you, dear?’ the woman inquired.
The man thought a second, then said “I’ll take peanut butter and m&m. Two please.”
The cookies were placed into a box and handed to the couple.
“Did you guys make these?” the woman asked.
“We and our mother.” Hayley told her.
“What is are total?” the man asked.
“Sixteen dollars.” Henry informed him.
The girls handed them their box, and the man handed a twenty to Henry. “Keep the change.” he said smiling at the kids.
As the couple walked off, Helen saw the women take a cookie out of the box, and eat it while talking to the man, who was shaking his head at whatever it was she was saying.
The sun was all the way up by know, and more people started to come. Families big and small, couples of all ages, and all sorts of people stopped bye
The booth was pretty busy, just enough that the they weren’t bored, but slow enough that they didn’t get overwhelmed.
The twins were taking a break, sitting in some chairs in the back of the booth. Henry and Helen were up front.
“Is my present red?” Hannah asked Helen.
“Is it pink?”
“Is it any color?”
“It’s got to be some color.” Hannah complained.
“No” Helen respond.
“She’s messing with you.” Henry laughed.
“Ah come on.” Hannah wined “Can’t you just tell me the color?”
“Hey, Christmas cookies.” a voice interrupted the talking “Just what I wanted.”
Helen turned to the voice and saw two paramedics. The tall skinny one with blond hair, she recognized as Jason, the other one was Taylor, with his broad shoulders and brown, almost red hair.
Helen knew them, because they had helped the family out a few times. Most notably, getting Hayley's hand out of a drain pipe.
“Hello.” Helen greeted the two with a smile.
“Hello.” the two chorused back.
“Is this charity of some sorts.” Taylor asked.
“Yes.” Hayley said, as she came up behind Helen.
“We’re raising money for Christmas presents for children in the Hospital.” Hannah explained, following Hayley.
“Nice.” Taylor complemented.
“How much for the cookies?” Jason asked.
“Two dollars for a cookie.” Hannah started to explain.
“And twenty for a dozen.” Hayley finished.
“We could get some for everyone back at the station.” Jason said turning to Taylor.
“Okay.” Taylor continued when Jason didn’t turn away. “Why are you looking at me?”
“I don’t have a twenty on me.” Jason almost sheepishly said. “All I have is fithteen.”
Taylor rolled his eyes. “Fine” he proceeded to pull out a five dollar bill and gave it to Henry, along with Jason’s fithteen.
“What kind of cookies do you want?” Hannah asked.
“Two of every kind.” Jason answered.
The girls got the cookies and handed them to the paramedics.
“Thank you.” both men said.
“Thank you, for all the work you do.” Helen replied.
The two guys left. Instantly Hannah started pestering Helen again.
“Is it bigger than a bread box.”
“Is what bigger than a bread box?” Helen asked.
“Oh, that again. No it is not bigger than a bread box.”
“Is it smaller?”
“It’s the same size?”
“No” Helen respond smiling at Hannah.
The hours went by, and more people came and went, and their cookie supply slowly dwindled. It had warmed up a little. The kids had began to shed their cold layers.
The kids were cleaning up a little, when the next customer came to the booth.
It was the sweetest little girl, dressed in the cutest, bright red dress, Helen had ever seen. The girl’s black hair was tied back in red bow. She was probably no older than four. Helen could see her parents off to one side watching.
She quickly, and best as she could, ordered three cookies. One for her, and one for mother, and one for her father.
The next customer was a man wearing a construction uniform, including a hard hat. Honestly, the man's whole demeanor was hard, until he started talking to the twins, with whom the opposite was true.
The next customer was a interesting one. It was a really short man, wearing a green and red elf suit. And he was leading a reindeer. Yes you read that right. A reindeer.
“Are you an elf?” Hayley asked in a half whisper.
“That I am.” the man whispered back “My name is Butterscotch.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Butterscotch.” Henry half laughed.
“”If you are a elf, than what are you doing out here?” Hannah inquered.
“Donner got lost last night.” the Elf explained, gesturing to the reindeer. “I’m taking him back home. But I smelled your booth, and well, I haven't had anything to eat, so I thought a cookie would hold me off, till I can get back home.”
“What kind of cookie, do you want.” Helen smiled at the “Elf”. Yeah, she didn’t believe he was really one of Santa's elves.
“Ooh, I don’t know.” the elf looked over the cookies. “I think I’ll take a candy cane.”
“The chocolate chip.” Hannah said reaching for one of the cookies. She handed him his bag, and he handed them a five dollar bill.
“Keep the change.” he said, then he and the reindeer started to walk off, but he paused and turned back to the booth.
“You guys wouldn’t know were the airport is, would you?”
“Follow the road west, then turn left onto Newgate, than it will be on you right.” Helen directed.
“Thanks.” he said, turning again. He and Donner walked off, towards the airport.
“Was he a real elf?” Hayley asked Helen pulling on her older sister’s jacket sleeve.
Looking down at her, Helen admitted “I don’t know.”
Before any one of them could say something else, a loud booming voice at their booth said “Ho ho ho. Cookies! My favorite!”
The kids turned to see Santa, or at least someone dressed as Santa. But it was a very convincing costum, the beard was obviously real, and the red nose with belly that jiggles like jelly, was also real.
“Santa!” both twins cried in delight.
“Santa?” Henry mouthed to Helen, who just shrugged her shoulders in reply.
“What are you doing here, Santa?” Hayley asked.
“Yeah, it’s not Christmas.” Hannah commented.
“No, it’s not.” Santa said laughing “You see, last night I lost one of my reindeer, so I sent a good friend of mine to find him. Well, he hasn’t come back, so now i’m looking for both of them.”
“Is Butterscotch the Elf, your good friend that you sent to find Donner?” Henry asked the man in red.
“He is!” Santa exclaimed “How did you know?”
“He was here just a moment ago.” Hayley said.
“Yea, He bought a cookie, than asked directions for the nearest airport.” Hannah said.
“So, Helen told him where to go.” Hayley finished.
“Ah, you Foster kids are, always keeping an eye out for others.” and with that, Santa turned around and went down the road, in the same direction as Butterscotch had.
The booth was quiet. No one knew what to say after that. Finilay Henry broke the silence.
“Well, that happened.”
“Was that really Santa?” Hannah asked Helen.
“I don’t know, I Really do not know.” Helen said looking down the street.
“Hey!” Henry cried out “We’re out of double chocolate reindeer cookies.”
“So?’ Helen said, not sure why Henry was upset about it.
“So.” Henry explained “We had four, befor Santa showed up.”
“Are you saying, that Santa stole our cookies?” Hannah asked almost in a panic.
“No, wait.” Helen said picking up something from the front of the booth. “Here’s two tens. I know we did not leave money out on the booth.”
No one said anything, they just stared at each other, then down the street, then at each other again.
They were still in shock when their parents came by the booth.
“What happened?” Jerry asked at the silent four.
“Daddy! Mommy!” the twins called.
“You will not believe what happened.” Hannah said, running to her parents and hugging them, with Hayley right behind them.
“What happen?” Allana asked.
Quickly, because they were excited, all four kids recounted what had happened.
“Do you think he was the real Santa?” Hannah asked her dad.
“Well.” he pondered “It sure looks as if he was.”
The parents stayed for a little bit, before leaving with the three youngest, to get some lunch and to bake more cookies.
Don’t worry about Helen. , Mr Foster brought her some lunch, which she had eaten while discussing the whole Santa thing.
Helen stood at the front of the booth, watching the many people going about. It had warmed up a bit, she was only wearing her heavy pink sweater, instead of her coat.
The booth’s next customer was a woman. She was bundled up. Helen had seen her walk out of the store rather slowly. She paused not too far from the booth.
She then slowly walked over to the booth, where Helen could see her a little better. Honestly, the women looked like death warmed over.
“How much for a cookie?” the woman asked in a stopped -up -nose voice.
“Two dollars for one.” Helen said.
“I’ll take a chocolate chip, please.”
Helen bagged her cookie and handed her the change.
“Thanks.” the woman called as she headed for the parking lot.
The next customer was a rather large family. They were a fun group. The very tall, bearded father made a handful of jokes as he bought the cookies.
The next customers were ones Helen knew, and if she was not sure which one was which, they had name tags.
There was Mr Wise Man one, Mr Gabriel, Mr Shepherd four, and Mr Joseph. And yes they were dressed in costume, From head to toe.
“What can I get for you?” Helen asked, amused.
“Can we have a candy cane?” Gabriel asked.
“And we will take two gingerbread men.” Wiseman and Sheppard ordered.
“And iI’ll take a M&M cookie.” Joseph finished
Helen got there cookies and there change. Gabriel took both and then stated “You don’t seem that surprised to see us.”
“Santa already came by, why not the nativity scene too.” Helen respond with a smile.
The group left, and Helen was left alone again. Not for long though. The others arrived with refills to the cookies. Helen told them of the other guests, and they all agreed this was an interesting day.
Mr and Mrs Foster stayed for a little bit, and then they left, to go wrap the presents they had bought.
The kids settled into their places again, and stared to serve people.
Time passed. Customers came and went. Some were interesting, like a guy claiming to be an alien, a woman dress as the grinch, a guy in a three piece suit with sunglasses and a girl in a hotdog costume.
But on the other hand, there were some that, not to be rude, were very boring.
By night fall, the booth was almost out of every kind of cookie, the kids were tired but happy. They hadn't counted the money but they were sure they had enough.
They had offhandedly started to put things away, and to get ready for their parents. Helen was watching the front. There weren’t many people, but a few were still about.
As she was watching the people, Helen saw a young woman, decked in a heavy coat and a big backpack with a cat sitting on it, walk up to the mall.
She paused by the wall and left the cat there, while she went in side. The cat waited, right where the girl had left it.
As the girl came out, Helen noticed her glancing at their booth, there was something about the way the girl looked and acted, that made Helen take up a couple cookies in a bag, placing the money from her wallet with the other cash.
“Henry, can you watch the booth for a minute?” Helen asked.
Henry nodded his head, and Helen moved off to the girl.
Helen walked up to her. “Excuse me.” she politely said.
The girl turned to wearily looked at Helen, “Yes?” she said slowly.
“Merry Christmas.” Helen handed her the bag of cookies. Than, without saying another word she turned around and went back to the booth.
When she got back. She Helen stole a glance at the girl, she was still standing by the mall looking at the bag, than at the booth.
Finally she opened the bag and took a cookie out, and well, ate it. Smiling she waved her thanks to the booth, then picking her cat back up, she moved off.
Helen looked around the parking lot, it was almost empty, just a few shoppers left, and a couple employers, coming and going.
As it started to snow, softly and gently, and as Helen started to helped her sisters into their coats, she couldn’t help, but smile.