Opinion | Faith & Inspiration

By Charles Towne           

I’m sorry, but I like to watch people.  And no, I am not a peeping tom, but you know what I mean. Say you are in a public place, such as a shopping mall, or your local Walmart, and you see somebody acting a tad… squirrely… doesn’t it make you want to pause and peer?

Not long ago I was in my favorite grocery store, and as I entered the cookie aisle taking a shortcut to the produce section (naturally I wasn’t there to buy cookies), I couldn’t help but notice a very happy, middle-aged lady sitting on the floor. This, in its own right, was a tad peculiar, but what really got my attention was the fact that she had removed several boxes and packages of cookies from the shelf, and having opened each of them, was wolfing down the sweet little morsels like there was no tomorrow! The lady, who I will now refer to as, “The Cookie Lady”, had packages of cookies scattered all around her on the floor. My oh my, oh my, oh my! There were Keebler’s, Oreo’s, and Little Debbie’s, a box of Graham crackers (personally I like my graham crackers dunked in milk), Archway’s, Pinwheels, and Fig Newtons, as well as sugar cookies. The Cookie Lady’s cheeks were all puffed out as she chewed, and she was eating those sweet little morsels like she was in a cookie-eating contest. Melted chocolate was smeared on her face and she had cookie crumbs all over her blouse and in her lap. Her eyes were half closed in a comatose state of cookie-induced euphoria.

As I walked past her, she glanced up at me with an anxious expression and clutched a package of Oreos to her chest with one hand, while jamming a fistful of Oreos into her mouth with the other.  I want you to know something; that woman was not going to share her cookies with anyone!

Seeing that dear soul get her sugar fix did me a lot of good; it was sort of a reality check. I know some folks who spurn meat. They wouldn’t dare, to hear them tell it, eat meat if they were starving. BUT, that same person will eat a double banana split with a strawberry milk shake chaser and a side dish of chocolate sundae to top it off, without a thought.

Yep, people are definitely interesting creatures.

And speaking of people, I am acquainted with some mighty miserable folks too, yes sirree Bob, miserable, and mean. Look at them with their faces all screwed up like they were sucking on lemons. Scowling, unhappy, grumpy in their self-righteousness, as if their crappy attitude toward life was going to make them holy or something. Better they eat a cookie.

To my way of thinking, Christians should be the happiest people on earth. Whatever you do, do it for joy. Believe me, when you do something reluctantly, and are miserable in the doing, it will shorten your life; therefore whatever you do, enjoy it.

I would certainly say that the Cookie Lady was darned well enjoying those cookies, perhaps just a tad to excess, but she was happy; at least for the moment… until the store intercom declared there was an emergency on the cookie aisle.

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, and be happy in the doing.

Now that’s living.


Dear lord, please help me to be joyful even in caregiving. Help me to bring peace and love to everyone I meet. Help me to see the flowers, to feel the sunshine, to revel in autumn’s coolness, to skip and dance in the thrill and joy of life. And Lord, please help me to even enjoy a cookie or two now and then. Praise you Lord God. In Jesus’ holy name I ask this, knowing that you will not withhold any good thing from your children. Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Ohhhh, goodness!! Where is my bag of Oreos? As odd as it may seem, that woman was as happy as could be at that moment. I think sometimes we forget that simple pleasures can make us genuinely happy.
    We over-think, stress and worry. We don’t even see the small things right in front of us. Thanks Chuck, for reminding us to slow down, look around and be thankful for simple pleasures. Take time to notice the blessings God has put before us and just be grateful.
    Blessings to you…and Nancy.

  2. Yes CSG, you are right! The cookie lady had found happiness, even if it was fleeting, and just for that moment. What was it that Paul said about sharing his cookies? Oh yes, “That what I want to do I don’t do, and what I don’t want to do is what I do; O miserable man that I am!…” I realize that Paul’s problem was not getting His daily sugar fix, were it only so simple! The habits of Sin such as lying and gossiping are so much greater problems, and soo much more difficult to overcome, but Jesus wants to help us doesn’t He? Bless you all, Chaz

  3. Oh my Chuck, Your story brought back some memories of long ago! When I had returned from the service many years ago in the early 1970’s, I lived for a while on the east side in my city, the area had many young people and students living there, hippies were still around and in the neighborhood there was a small mom and pop grocery store that was open 24 hours. I remember walking down the cookie aisle and being unable to find an unopened bag of cookies that some shopper with “the munchies” had not helped himself to while shopping! The store owner had long ago conceded the battle and would just shrug his shoulders and sell the cookies for 50% off.
    As for the perennially grumpy people, my father had an expression I still cherish, he would describe such people thusly, ” They would complain if you hung them with a brand new rope!” I am sure he didn’t originate it but I love it still, it has a rare descriptive force!
    On one last note, personally, I’d like to think that I would have sought out the store manager and offered to at least help pay for her cookies, she was obviously enjoying herself!

  4. My first thought was “this is a very sweet story”. I haven’t had breakfast yet and am seriously thinking of finishing the bag of homemade snickerdoodles that my neighbor gave us earlier this week. Richard beat me to the punch with his “new rope” comment which I also learned from my dad and still find very useful. Keep the stories coming Chuck – they always make my Sunday morning reading enjoyable.

  5. Richard, The incident in my article happened in a Public grocery store. It was a rare occasion I am sure, and no mom and pop store. You have to admit, people are interesting creatures. I wish that all of our habits were as harmless. Bless you all, Chaz

  6. Mike, I suppose one has to be of an age to appreciate the “new rope” analogy. Snickerdoodles aren’t cookies are they? I thought they were a major food group? Blessings on you folks, Chaz


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