Growing up my brothers and I were close to our aunts, uncles and cousins. Even though none lived near us, several times a year we would pile into the car on a Friday evening and drive north to New York or Connecticut to visit relatives for the weekend. We often visited my Mom’s sister and her family on Long Island. The eldest cousin on my mother’s side of the family is someone I always looked up to. Thomas, his brother and sister are more like siblings than cousins to me and my brothers. He attended college just an hour’s drive from our home and every so often he would drop in for a surprise visit. We would glance out the window as he drove up on a friend’s motorcycle or his white Chevy convertible with red interior and yellow daisies on the visor. Daisies? It was the 60’s and the era of flower power! The running joke was that my mother only served hamburgers for dinner because nearly every time he visited was Friday burger night. We loved those surprise visits … great memories!

During his college years Thomas was in Navy ROTC. A year after his graduation and the summer before my freshmen year in high school, he was sent off to that awful war in Vietnam. His duties were not on the battlefield but in the city of Saigon teaching English to the South Vietnamese. It sounds fairly safe, doesn’t it? Not really; cafes in Saigon where the American troops hung out were frequently bombed. I remember a picture he sent with a rifle leaning next to his bed. It made me cringe and I worried about him being so far away in that violent region of the world. Every single week for the entire year he was in-country, I wrote a letter to my cousin. I doubt my correspondence about football scores and high school dances were too fascinating but it was a touch of home. At one family party when the entire family was together my aunt set out a tape recorder. Remember those things? We recorded the goings-on which was constant chatter. I remember him later saying 'it felt like home' even though he could not understand a word anyone was saying and telling his buddies … ‘that’s my family.’

We were all so happy, relieved and proud of Thomas when his tour of duty was over. Once stateside he got on with his life, career, married and had a family. I doubt he talks about the 12 months spent in Vietnam but his four children would certainly be proud of their Dad. Thanks Thomas for your service to our country, for being an outstanding role model to us younger cousins and thanks too for teaching me how to sail!

Thank you to all the servicemen and women from previous and current generations who have put their lives on hold and at risk to serve our country.

My cousins and brothers; me in blue in front of Thomas - 1966

My strawberry cookie cutter is small and sometimes I roll out cookies from scraps of leftover dough. In an effort to save time I skipped the step of making flood icing and only used outline icing to decorate. Also, instead of piping seeds onto the cookie I piped a simple yellow swirl.

Strawberry Cookies
Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Green with AmeriColor Leaf Green
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Dark Pink with AmeriColor Electric Pink and AmeriColor Super Red
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Light Yellow with AmeriColor Egg Yellow
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
PME Decorating Tip #1.5

Outline leaf with #2 tip in green icing.

Flood leaf with green icing. Let sit 15 minutes.

Outline rest of cookie with #2 tip in pink icing.

Flood rest of cookie with pink icing.
Pipe detail onto leaf with #2 tip in green icing. Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe zig-zag line with #1.5 tip in yellow icing. Let dry overnight.


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  1. What a lovely stroll down memory lane of your time with your cousin Thomas. Strawberry cookies are very cute. You in 1966...even cuter :)

    1. Paula, Thank you! You are so kind. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  2. Joan, It was so nice of you to share the story about your cousin. Cute cookies! Ann


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