Grandpa Charlie Cookies

By: Dennis Bates

When I visited my grandfather and grandmother’s house as a kid, there was a simple aluminum container with a lid that served as their cookie jar. It always sat in the same place and it always had chocolate devil’s food cookies with marshmallow chocolate  coating. They were store bought cookies that my grandfather picked up because he knew that all us grandchildren liked them.

In fact, to this day, most of us still call that kind of cookie “Grandpa Charlie Cookies” because that’s what they are, no matter what Nabisco or any other cookie maker thinks.

The first thing that most of us did whenever we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was go to that cookie jar and eat one of those cookies. It was almost as if that made our visit official in a way, and it always made us feel welcome. I don’t ever remember going to the jar and finding it empty. Even when family gatherings totalled in excess of 30 people, the cookie jar always had more than enough cookies for everyone. It never got emptied.

The last time I was ever in that house was after my Grandfather’s funeral as more than 40 family members gathered there. There on the counter by the back door  where it always sat was the cookie jar, and it was full of “Grandpa Charlie Cookies.” I had to wait in line to get one.

If one were to analyze those cookies for what they were, they weren’t anything all that spectacular. They had a tendency to be a little dry. In spite of being almost totally chocolate, they didn’t taste all that chocolaty, and they didn’t have either peanut butter or raisins in them, two essential  ingredients for a cookie, as far as I’m concerned.  

But, they are still my favorites cookie, and they were always where they were supposed to be, in that simple tin container, on the counter by the back door in Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We all knew Grandpa kept them there for all of us. That’s what makes them so special, even today. We did’t analyze them or compare them to some fancy new gourmet cookie. That wasn’t the point.

It wasn’t the cookie itself that mattered. In a very simple way, those cookies were and still  are Grandpa because they are full of his love for me and all the rest of us. Every time I see a package of them on the shelf in the store, I think of him, and I remember what it was like when he shared a glass of cold milk with me at his kitchen table, and we ate one of his special cookies.


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