A bright yellow ribbon happened to catch the writer’s attention during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds one day last week.

Would Mr. Lincoln have liked Girl Scout Cookies?

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Abraham Lincoln just might have liked Girl Scout Cookies. He apparently enjoyed nibbling on gingerbread men, so Girl Scout Cookies might not be all that farfetched. Bear with me, folks...we’ll get Mr. Lincoln, Girl Scout Cookies and gingerbread men connected. Promise.

As you may recall, your writer enjoys taking a weekly stroll at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro. 

Generally, the site is pretty peaceful and quiet. Last week, though, during my visit, a half dozen or so Canada geese were making quite a ruckus. Saw lots of turtles, too, but they were not making much noise. (Do turtles even make noise? They’re pretty quiet when they slip into the water to make sure that a photographer can’t take any more pictures.)

After walking around the pond at the picnic grounds, I got in the car to head back to The Paragraph Factory. As I was leaving the park, I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a yellow ribbon.

That seemed odd. Depending on the season, I’ve seen turtles, Canada geese, dragon flies, frogs, pileated woodpeckers, hawks, squirrels, chipmunks and vultures (apparently waiting for all of the other critters to reach the stage of past tense) at the picnic grounds.

However, I did not recall seeing a yellow ribbon during any previous visits. With my curiosity piqued (pronounced “pee cued”), I stopped to check it out.

While I’m pretty sure there are old oak trees on the picnic grounds, the yellow ribbon was not tied around one of them. Instead, the ribbon was attached to a Looking for Lincoln information display which can be seen by those who visit the picnic grounds.

Seems that I had stumbled upon some information about an event called the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Golden Cookie Hunt. 

Subsequent research on the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois website revealed that what I had discovered was part of a treasure hunt being held in celebration of Girl Scout Cookie Season. 

Golden Cookies have been hidden in a public location in each Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Service Unit. Union County (along with Pulaski and Alexander counties) are in Service Unit 72.

Five clues about the Golden Cookie I had discovered also were posted on the website: Clue 1: Two men, one short and one tall, if you think back in history I’m sure their names you will recall. Clue 2: You may get wet if you veer off the path, when you’d get home it would be time for a bath. Clue 3: Follow in their footprints and start at the square, this adventure is awesome so show us you care. Clue 4: Don’t worry you will be out of danger, nearby is a Shawnee National Forest Ranger. Clue 5: Let’s step back in time to September 15, 1858, this is the location of a great debate. (Just so you know, there also was a Golden Cookie somewhere in Anna.)

Information attached with the yellow ribbon indicated that I should take a selfie with the ribbon and then share said selfie online. If I had done that, I would have been entered into a drawing which was scheduled to take place on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Several nifty prizes were going to be awarded in the drawing. Once upon a time, your writer was an official Girl Scout. No longer. Therefore, I would have been in the “non-members” category for the prize drawing. Two drawings for a case of Girl Scout Cookies were planned. Wow. Two cases. I would have been happy with a couple of Girl Scout Shortbread Cookies.

Sadly, I do not do selfies. Well, that’s not completely true. One time I had a selfie with Smokey Bear. Ironically, the picture was taken at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds. I do not remember seeing any yellow ribbons, or Girl Scout cookies, at the event.

With all of this being said, we’ll head back to the beginning, where it was suggested that Abraham Lincoln just might have liked to munch on a Girl Scout Cookie.

While doing a little bit more treasure hunting on the internet, I stumbled across an archived National Public Radio story about how Mr. Lincoln cooked. The story, from February 2014, was about a book written by author Rae Katherine Eighmey titled “Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times.”

The NPR story shared: “One culinary moment that Eighmey says particularly captures Lincoln’s personality involved Sen. Stephen Douglas and some gingerbread man cookies.

“During one of their famous debates – which helped catapult Lincoln into the national spotlight and eventually, the presidency – Lincoln grew tired of the constant false praises from Douglas. So, to make him stop, Lincoln told a story from his childhood.

“He talked about how he once shared gingerbread cookies his mother made with a neighboring boy, who then told him that ‘there’s nobody who likes gingerbread as much as I do, and nobody who gets as little as I do.’

“‘So Lincoln was contrasting that to how he doesn’t get much flattery, and here Douglas was heaping it on him, you know, falsely’,” Eighmey says.

“But the story doesn’t just end there. In a way, Eighmey is also a detective, analyzing the stories to unravel recipes that Lincoln and his family likely used back in the 1800s.

“For the gingerbread story, Eighmey says, the clues were Lincoln’s description of the cookies: that they were made from sorghum flour and ginger, and that he could stuff them in his pocket, which meant that the cookies were sturdy in texture. Using that as the starting point, she sifted through old cookbooks to find the closest recipe that fit those elements.”

I don’t think there are any Girl Scout Cookies made from sorghum and ginger. I’m guessing that Mr. Lincoln and I could enjoy a few of those Shortbreads together, with a cup of coffee, which I think he liked, too. (P.S. Sorry we’re a bit windy this week.)



The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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