We call her the Cookie Lady because that’s the way she signs cards on the tins of goodies she sends through the neighborhood. Our friend Connie, though, is so much more.
Feisty, Irish, sweet, witty, charming, crafty, and just a bit naughty, Connie anchors our little corner of the city. Born a Murphy, Connie approaches life with solid faith and Gaelic glee. Diagnosed with cancer, Connie walked to the hospital each day for her chemo treatments and carried homemade cookies for the staff. She beat that cancer and fought back many challenges in a life that would have felled a lesser colleen.
Today, 85-years young, Connie rises at 4 a.m. and bakes. After many years of subtle requests and then outright pleas, she finally coughed up the recipe for her amazing molasses cookies. Molly and I can make the cookies now, but we have trouble recreating the essence, spiced, as her cookies are, with eight decades of flavor.
Several years ago she began knitting Christmas stockings for friends and family. To date, she has created 650 Christmas stockings. The stockings hang low and allow plenty of room for the generosity of good ole St. Nick, a particular favorite of the Cookie Lady.
I mentioned to her that my sister had become engaged to a man she had been dating for some time.
“Well, it’s about time,” Connie chuckled and the following week she showed up on my doorstep with Christmas stockings for the happy couple.
I popped in on Connie yesterday and found her jammied up and writing Christmas cards. She sends 150 cards and selects each one individually to match its lucky recipient. True to her stylish nature, Connie wore earrings to match her robe.
We’re very grateful in this house to be included among Connie’s tremendous circle of family and friends. She has spun herself an admirable yarn and created a legacy of love.
|Here she is at work on a Christmas stocking,
a year-round project for her. This picture is
not 100% current, but she suggested I use it
anyway. “Let ’em think I still look like that,”
she said. The truth is, she hasn’t aged much
beyond this at all.
|This is Connie’s house, all spruced up for the holidays. She
decorates full on for every holiday but Christmas is her speciality.
|Connie requested that I include a shot of her Madonna. A lifelong
Catholic, Connie walks to 8 a.m. mass each day.
|Here is Connie’s mantel with the original stockings she created
for her own husband and children.
|And here is our mantel with the enormous stockings Connie gave
us. St. Nick has become pretty generous at our house thanks to
Connie’s stockings. She sets a high bar.