OK, so here is the situation I found myself in last night.  One I’m sure many will appreciate…

My lovely, wonderful boyfriend informs me that his friend from up the street is going to drop in.  I say, “When?”  I say this out loud (of course) but what really is going through my head is,  ”DROP IN?  Who DROPS IN?”  …Found out later that ‘dropping in’ is very big where my boyfriend comes from.  Lets just say where I come from we hid when then doorbell rang without further knowledge of the event.  But I digress.  My boyfriend answers, “In 5 minutes, she just wants to come by for a few minutes and drop something off for us for the holidays.”   (“WTF,” I’m thinking!!!!!!!) Why now, at 9pm, when I’m in sweats, exhausted from the day and have nothing to offer anyone.  (A very rare occurrence – usually there is something here that I’ve baked.  A cookie, a cake, a pie! SOMETHING!)  I look at him as if to say “WWWWHHHYYYYYYY!!!!!??????????????”  Instead I just get up and try to run in 5 different directions as my troop, Frankie Beans, watches my every move.  With one leg in my jeans I hear the bell ring.  Frankie looks at me as if to say, “Were we expecting someone?”  With my expression he sees the answer is, “NOOOOO!”  So he goes into his rendition of being a guard dog – barking, jumping and bringing all his toys to the door.  I hear my boyfriend already starting to open the door so I jump into my closet (since I don’t have a separate room in my place, it’s all just one big open space).  So I’m basically screwed and half naked at the moment.

I get it together (barely) and meet our guest now standing in my apartment.  A very lovely lady that is actually a business associate of my boyfriend that I don’t happen to know that well.  She offers my boyfriend a tin of fresh baked Christmas cookies and then turns to me to offer me something in an aluminum foil wrapper.  It all seams to go in slow motion at this point.  As this lovely women gives me an aluminum foil wrapped batch of cookies she made especially for me, “WITHOUT THE  GLUTEN.”  Yes that’s what she said, “WITHOUT THE GLUTEN!”  Now I know all my Celiac friends are gasping just as much as I did in that moment, but if you don’t understand the situation that has now been placed in my hands, let me explain.  I am a Celiac, a severe Celiac.  One that has MANY other allergies thanks to many years going undiagnosed.  For this reason cooking and baking for me is something of an impossibility.  So, hearing her tell me she baked without the gluten, just doesn’t seem like I would be safe with these treats (to say the least).

Before I can even say anything she says,  ”Try one. I worked all day trying to make cookies without gluten and I finally got it. I think. But I know you are the expert so please try and tell me what you think.”   I look at her with a blank smile.  Frankie Beans gets his nose under my hand and tries to sniff out what’s under the foil while my boyfriend starts to explain as to why I would have to be rude and not be able to taste them.  I apologize but she insists that she did it right.

Does she realize that if she made those cookies right next to or on the same cookie tray as she did the gluten filled ones that I would be ill?  Ill for up to a week sometimes for me.  What do I do?  I felt so bad, but also didn’t want to be sick!!!!!!!  This is where time slowed way down.  As she insisted again I tried to change the subject, my boyfriend kept politely declining, and Frankie Beans would not stop getting under my hand.

Well, before I knew what happened Frankie had pushed my hand in such a way that I not only dropped the foil wrapped cookies but the treats scattered out of the foil and all over the floor.  We all kind of freaked, which made Frankie freak and he stepped all over the cookies smashing every last one of them!!!!!!  I apologized profusely as I picked up the cookies squished into the floor and took Frankie beans to the kitchen with me to to reprimand him.

In the kitchen I threw away the smashed cookies and turned to Mr. Beans (I call him that when he’s in trouble).  His ears went up not knowing what the problem was.  He usually cowers when he does something wrong.  Instead he was standing by the refrigerator as he does when waiting for a carrot.  I looked at him and he seemed quite pleased with himself.  I knelt down and he gave me a hug by putting both paws on my shoulders and licked my face.  I chuckled to myself and thought, “Did he do this on purpose?  I mean, I know he is smart, but really?”  I looked at him again and he put his paw on the refrigerator door as if to say, “I did your deed, now a carrot please, lady.”

Was this my Xmas miracle?  Frankie has always been my best friend from day one and now 11 years later he still is.  He knows and feels everything that I do, and who knows, maybe he did this on purpose.  Whatever it was I loved him for saving me the pain from one bite of cookie, and also the pain of having to explain my disease, again.  I opened the fridge and gave him two carrots and a big hug.  Nothing like a best friend to do your dirty work.

. . .

And here’s a note I found from Frankie Beans this morning.  Let me know what you think about it.  I’ve decided he’s the new mascot for Jennifer’s Way!

Happy Holidays,

Jennifer Esposito