It’s Girl Scout cookie time. I bought a couple of boxes a few days ago. The Scouts were in a prime spot, outside Lunardi’s Supermarket. Location is everything. I remember standing in front of Safeway with Ariela and her troop. She used her communication device to call out to customers, “Girl scouts cookies. Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” Her digitized voice sounded like a girl’s version of Stephen Hawking. People stopped. Then another member of her troop would swoop in to close the sale.

While I waited outside Lunardi’s for one scout to show another how to charge my credit card, I asked them, “How’s business?” The mother (There’s always an adult at the cookie table.) said they were doing well.

“I was the cookie chair for years,” I told her. “For my daughter’s troop.”

The mother smiled. “And where is your daughter now?” she asked.

I hesitated.

“She died,” I said.

The mother got up from her stool, came around the cookie table, and gave me a hug.

“I have many fond memories of the Girl Scouts,” I told her.

Cookie chair was a huge headache. I had to call the girls several times to turn in their orders, and to pick up their cookies, and to collect the payments, and to turn in the money. Lots of calls and pick-ups and deliveries and nagging and a house full of cookies and tallies that never added up. I don’t regret a minute of it.

Once a week, Ariela donned her green vest with all the badges and joined a group of girls her age for meetings and hikes and service projects and fun. Ariela was always included and accepted along with all the other girls. Girl Scouts has long been committed to full inclusion and nondiscrimination. How many other organizations deliver on that promise?

Girl Scout cookies aren’t gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free. They have lots of calories, sodium and carbs. Buy them anyway. The money goes to help girls develop important life skills and to do good work in our community and beyond. I could tell you they’re yummy, but you know that. No Girl Scouts in your neighborhood? You can buy your cookies online. You’ll want to stock up. When Ariela was in Girl Scouts, we ran out of Samosas. Avoid this tragedy. Get yours while they last.

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