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  • When my mom came to visit, she brought some of my favorites. Mocha cakes. Smiley face cookies. They aren't quite the same since Dusek's closed but at least Hyvee tries. (There isn't anything close in DC.)

    Whenever she comes or I go to visit, some of the treats end up in my kitchen. I honestly don't know how much I like them – I don't generally eat cakes, cookies or sweets – but they taste like my childhood, of Grandma's house, school breaks and freedom after two days sick in a car, Boggle and Nancy Drew books, air conditioning and a plush green lawn.

    Mocha cakes and smiley face cookies remind me of people known, loved and gone, my people, me. They remind me of a person I used to be. So, I keep eating them.

    Of course, the cakes and cookies are finite. Temporal. Perishable. I live far away. I can only eat so much. I could buy every sweet in the store but they would only last so long.

    When I bring them home, I can either eat them or freeze them. I can flood myself with memory and move on or I can draw out the pleasure. Both are tempting in their own right because I want my cake and to eat it, too, but that isn't how life works. The cakes diminish. The cookies grow stale. I don't really like eating treats.

    They are never really as good after freezing as they are from the start. Fresh from the bakery. Fresh from Hyvee. But they do freeze fairly well for a while. A short while. Briefly. Temporarily.

    Sometimes, I almost forget that they are in the freezer. They work their way back and lose all appeal with spots of white frost inside the bags. I have to let them go. They are not meant to be frozen long.

    Sometimes, I remember and pull one out, setting it on the counter to thaw and waiting for a chance to delve into memory and comfort.

    Sometimes, it seems as if there's nothing as difficult as waiting for the delayed gratification to warm up enough to gratify me. Sometimes, I feel so very spoiled to be able to do that, any of it, to think and write about cakes and cookies, to be able to determine when I get a treat, to summon at will pleasant memories.

    Mostly, they just make me happy.
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