I got a robo-call from my daughter's school on Friday. I have come to dread these robo-calls; they're always bad news. Like , "Surprise, your kid has the day off because the pipes burst." And I do not mean, the bad news is the problem with the pipes.
Lately, though, they've been about heartbreak. This call was to give me the details on the wake the church was hosting for a young man who died. A kid, really, barely in his forties; seven lovely children and a beautiful wife. One of those things that make you wonder. Is there a God? DIH's would have to be, Yes. So, proceed to the next question: Is He doing drugs? And finally, WTF?
Anyway, the call informed me of the time and place of the wake. Then it added "All families are asked to bring three panda bars. Please drop them off at the church."
I played the message a second time. No; no, not panda bars. "Panzer bars"? It sounded more like "panzer bars."
Since even a social incompetent like yours truly would hate to screw up at a wake, I had to find out what a panzer bar was, quick.
The only clue I had was "bars." What kind of bars did one serve at a wake?
In DIH's family of course the answer is simple- we are an Irish family, after all- but this is sober Minnesota.
This answer brought its own confusion. Why would anyone care if the food served at a wake was a bar cookie or not? What's wrong with -- I dont' know, name it. Drop cookies, rolled cookies, cutout cookies, little teeny pastries with drops of jam in the middle? And what about Oreos? What's wrong with Oreos?
Well. As this was the Thanksgiving I had vowed not to lift a finger in the kitchen, I would have to find bar cookies at the store. So I drove to Sam's Club.
The only thing that could possible qualify as a "pan of bars" (as I had by now translated the robo-call's message) were brownies. Which I almost bought. But then I thought, Shoot, everybody's going to bring brownies. There aren't any other bars here. What do I do now?
Answer: I bought three trays of regular cookies, then dropped them off at the church under cover of darkness. If anyone was going to take the heat for bringing non-regulation "pans" to the wake it wasn't going to be me.
At the wake I did a little sniffing around. "Panda bars?" I murmured as I passed through the crowd. "Anyone? Anyone? Panda bars?"
A fellow exiled East-coaster-- well, okay, Ohio, but at least it's east of here- stopped me. "I got that call too. It means 'cookies.' Sometimes 'batch of cookies.' It's another one of those Minnesota things. Like 'hot dish.'
"So why couldn't they just say 'cookies'?" I said. Not adding, of course, "YOU KNOW LIKE ANY OTHER FREAKIN' NORMAL PERSON??!!"
She shrugged. "You know how it is."
Yeah, I know. You betcha.