February means it’s time for Girl Scout cookies


Thanks-A-Lot …

Could there be a better named Girl Scout cookie?

It’s like this: The temperature in Muscatine is supposed to bottom out today somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 below. It’s the middle of February. March seems as if it’s at least a year away. We’re all stuck inside anyway. So, what the heck? Let’s tank up on Thin Mints and Caramel deLites or Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties and Trefoils.

Thanks a lot, Girl Scout cookies. It seems like the appropriate thing to say.

Three boxes of cookies arrived at our house the other night. It’s a safe bet they won’t be the last to darken our doorway before the cookies are sold out this year in Muscatine. And that’s at least partly because of the community’s stockpile of cookies.

For that, you can credit — or blame — Charlie Smith.

For years, he has turned his Smith’s Sales & Service into a cookie cupboard. When it’s time for Girl Scouts to sell cookies, Smith stores hundreds of cases of the cookies in his lawn mower and snowblower business at 301 W. Mississippi Drive.

Smith is a Boy Scout leader who became involved with the Girl Scouts when his daughter, Whitney Smith, 25, was young. He holds the cookies for Girl Scouts who will be setting up sales booths and displays throughout the community.

But anyone who really needs a cookie fix can also stop in and buy a few boxes. Smith’s Sales & Service is open from  8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

The previous three paragraphs were recycled from a short story I wrote six years ago for the local newspaper. For most of my tenure there, Charlie would call every February to say: The cookies are in.

Then, I’d put something about it in the paper.

I had planned to use details from those old stories as the nut graph for this blog post with the goal of writing a screed about being unable to eat just one Thin Mint after you open a box. Heck, it can be hard to stop at just one box.

But after sitting down to do it, I couldn’t write an angry gripe about Girl Scout cookies. After all, it’s not the Girl Scouts’ fault that I struggle to stop at just one or two Thin Mints.

And there is much to be said for an organization that helps young people develop self-confidence and assertiveness. Not everyone can sell things, ask for money or speak in front of a group even when that group is comprised largely of friends, family and neighbors.

But Girl Scouts of the USA has been teaching these life skills to millions and millions of young people for more than 100 years. It has more than 3 million members in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The Mississippi Valley Council has 11,700 members in its 15-county area, which includes Muscatine County.

So even though I really don’t need any Thin Mints and Caramel deLites or Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties and Trefoils, I’ll buy a few boxes anyway. It’s nice to know my purchase is helping girls learn important life skills while also helping fund local troop activities.

Buying a few boxes of cookies will also create an excuse to stop in and see my old friend, Charlie Smith. That’s a good reason, too.




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