What to Pack When You Run Away From Home

Let’s say you’re 4 years old and it’s noon.  You’re hungry so you ask your mother for a cookie (terrific spritz cookie recipe to follow).  And the meanest mother in the entire world says, “Sure Niki after you have some lunch, what do you want for lunch?”  Let’s assume that you’re feeling a little bit cranky and you decide that, even without having checked your bedside copy of the Geneva Conventions, this is the most outrageous parental abuse in the world and decide the only recourse you have is to run away from home.  And to add insult to injury, your mother agrees with you!

So what do you pack?

In Niki’s case you get out your Radio Flyer red wagon and grumbling with every trip upstairs you pile in all your essentials… brown snuggly bear, panda bear, polar bear… oh yeah better throw your pillow in cause you’ve gotta have your own pillow… Raggy Ann doll that Grammie made, better bring Winnie the Pooh, can’t forget blue Kangaroo… well if you bring Pooh & Blue Roo then you’ve got to toss Tigger, Elmo, and Oscar.  Ooops, wait a minute, can’t leave home without clean underwear… stomp back upstairs to get TWELVE Ariel Little Mermaid underpants.  That should do it!

Wait a minute, before running away you first have to line up a place  to run away to.  If you live in a new neighborhood and there’s only one other family on your street, well that pretty much decides things so you call up Mrs. Shea and ask if you can come live with her.  After getting a “sure, come on over Niki”, you give your mother one last chance to redeem herself but alas, now it’s become a bigger issue than a cookie.

“I’m leaving now!”
“Okay, goodbye, say hi to Mrs. Shea for me & don’t forget to thank her”.
Little problem though… when you’re 4 years old you’re not allowed to cross the street by yourself (even if it is a quiet cul de sac with no traffic).
“Mom, will you come cross the street with me?”
“Oh, I’m sorry Niki but you know when you run away from home, you’re kind of on your own so I can’t do that”.
“Well how can I run away?”

I looked up the hill and pointed out that we live on a cul de sac so if you were to stay on this side of the road, walk up the hill & come back down the cul de sac, you’d be on the opposite side of the road & bingo – you’d be at Mrs. Shea’s house in no time without having to cross the street!

I was at the window watching while I was on the phone with Judy who was kind of curious “ah, what’s up?  why’s Niki running away from home?”
“Oh Niki wanted a cookie and I told her she had to have lunch first, you mind letting her stew there for a bit?” No problem.
And then we both watched as the little red wagon and one very pissed off 4 year old hauled about 20 stuffed animals (and don’t forget the 12 Ariel underpants) uphill as everything kept falling off and getting slammed back into the wagon until she finally made it to Judy’s house to be greeted by:

“Hi Niki, come on in”
“Hi, can I have a cookie?”
“Did you have lunch?”

Now I wasn’t there but I was told that the slumped shoulders and absolute frustration at the conspiracy of mothers world-wide was too sad for words. But funny how things work out – Judy fed Niki lunch without a peep, handed out cookies and Niki got to play with Megan before deciding that home wasn’t that bad a place to be after all.

So what brought all this on?  Cookies of course.  And you know what I would do in this situation today?

I’d give the kid the cookie.  I mean it’s a cookie for heaven’s sake, not shots of tequila!

So here we are, a melt in your mouth spritz cookie that may not be worth running away from home, but they do bring Niki home even 20 years later hoping for more.

Spritz Flower Cookies 

1        Cup Crisco shortening
3/4     Cup sugar
1        Egg
2 1/4  Cups sifted flour
1/2     Teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1        Teaspoon almond extract

*   Cream shortening, adding sugar gradually
*   Add egg, then beat all ingredients well
*   Sift flour, baking powder, and salt then gradually add
*   Add almond extract to blend

The mixture should have a soft but not crumbly texture. Fill cookie press – for spring I like the flower, Christmas cookies I use the Christmas tree design – firmly press into tube.

Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.  I used little green sprinkles in the center of each flower.  Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until edges just barely begin to brown.  Do NOT overcook & remove from cookie sheets immediately.
Please do not call DSS on me, I think the statute of limitations has run out & Niki at least has something to talk to a therapist about.