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Kyri's Kookies

Kyri's Kookies


The year was 1973, Pan-Am wings affixed to my little Sailor Dress, with knee-high white boots, Grandma whispered into my ear as the plane began to take off, “chew the gum I gave you really fast, so your ears don’t hurt when the plane goes up.” Wrigley’s Spearmint Freedent was her gum of choice. We landed in Georgia. A portrait of excitement was painted all over my face. I was meeting my great- grand mother for the very first and only time. What a true delight.

Wow! The farm was an amazing experience for this Brooklyn born and raised little girl. In the kitchen, feet mounted up on the stepstool, I stood next to Nana as she showed me how to bake a cake from scratch. With Nana’s very clear directions, I begin milling the grains into fresh flour and beating the butter. “Kyri,” she said, “you see how the butter starts out yellow?” “Yes Ma’am,” I responded. “That’s when you add your sugar and keep whipping it until it turns from yellow to white. Then add the eggs one by one and keep whipping it until it’s nice and fluffy. Then add the flour,” She instructed. “Yes Ma’am.” I said softly.

The year was 2009. I resided in Georgia. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. My life, as I knew it, was drastically changing and there was literally nothing I could do to stop my world from disintegrating before me. I felt like I had been sucker-punched.

Clinging tightly to my two children, Courtney and Jordan, spiraling with each passing day on a merry-go-round of crippling chaos, I was confused, lost and lonely, existing without purpose. Nineteen years of my life, abandoned! Life had its way of turning expectations into painful memories. Yet, the tribulations propelled my decision to seek an opportunity to encourage others.

I set out on the road not taken. I put the heavy baggage down and started fresh…started new. I refused to embrace embitterment as the lot for my life and the course of my future. I decided to focus my energies outside of myself and make other people happy.

Enthusiastic about “getting out of myself,” and spreading agape love, I reached out to a couple of friends who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and solicited numbers of people in their platoons and squadrons. This is when my mission began.

With my Son, then 12 years old, by my side, my whisper grain mill in hand, I began to make homemade KOOKIES. I made a variety of treats…banana, blueberry, pumpkin, cinnamon breads and Kookies. My Son, Jordan worked with me every step of the way. He prepped and packaged the merchandise… a perfect mother and Son assembly line. With great satisfaction, I shipped coolers full of treats to Iraq and Afghanistan. My Son and I routinely embarked on this self-sacrificing mission every month, while my daughter was away attending school at the Culinary Institute of America studying to become a Chef.

Eventually, we transitioned to sending only KOOKIES. We packaged, put them on dry-ice and shipped them to the Soldiers. The gratitude and encouragement communicated in return aided in mending my heart. I felt a renewed spirit and a restored joy.

In 2012, I moved to New Jersey, but was employed at a Community Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. My job duties included working to help meet the needs of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. I worked with a team of amazing clinicians, and colleagues. I noticed they worked tirelessly without complaint. In my eyes, I felt that their work often went without gratitude, appreciation and thankless.

As a gesture of love, I once again began to bake Kookies and took them to my team as a token of appreciation. Word about my Kookies spread like wildfire. More days than I can count, people would line up outside my office to get Kookies. My Kookies were a showstopper.

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