The Cookie Queen

In a completely unexpected and rather startling turn of events at last night’s Celebrity Cookie Auction, this Evening Sun reporter’s Raspberry Pecan Thumbprints pulled out a surprising victory. That’s right – my cookies took home the Tastiest Cookie award!

Too boot, they also raised a whopping $260 in the live auction, thanks to a heated bidding war. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty exciting.

For all my shameless self-promotion over the last week, I really didn’t expect to come out on top. After all, I was up against some stiff competition. Somehow, though, my little darlings pulled it off – beating out the goodies baked up by more than 30 of the area’s actual celebrities.

To be honest, I was just happy to make the top 10. I was delighted when a friend called to tip me off to this fact a couple of hours before the Night of Cookies and Cream was set to start. But almost instantly, I was beset by nerves. I wasn’t too sure how they’d fare in the event’s live auction. I stressed about it the entire time I was at the gym. (Since I knew my dinner would consist of cookies and milk, I thought getting a pre-event workout in would be a good idea.)

When I arrived shortly before 6:30, there were already plenty of people milling around. I, of course, made a bee-line for the chocolate chip cookies I knew to have been donated by Hoppie’s. (I had no trouble picking them out of the line-up.)

Thus fortified, I checked out the competition. Which was a mistake, since it did nothing to quiet my nerves.

As I “worked” the room, taking pictures and chit-chatting with a few friends (including a few of my former Leadership Chenango classmates who helped out with the event), I stopped caring about all that, though. Because it was so great to see so many people come out for the cause – which was, of course, raising money for The Children’s Center’s scholarship fund.

By the time the silent auction closed and it was time for the live auction to get under way, I had decided I’d be happy if I finished in the middle of the pack. Not at the bottom of the top ten, but maybe a respectable 5th or 6th place.

I kept my fingers crossed as the first two jars were pulled, and Auctioneer Jerry LeClar set to work. It was the first time I’ve ever seen him in action, and it was amazing. He really whipped up the energy and excitement in the room, as everyone was drawn in by the spectacle of it all.

As each jar of cookies was auctioned off, I felt my own anxiety build. And then, suddenly there were just three jars left: Norwich Police Chief Joe Angelino (who took top prize in the first year of the event), Norwich Mayor Joe Maiurano and me.

I figured I was a shoe-in for the number three spot, but to my surprise it was the chief’s cookies which went up on the auction block next. I was already making my way over to the mayor to congratulate him when his jar was pulled.

Which meant you-know-who was in the top spot. I cast a harried glance at my friend Jennifer Tavares, who I’d given my bidding number to, with strict instructions not to go over $75. Well, I thought, at least my co-workers would be happy if I ended up buying my own cookies.

But Jen never even got a chance to bid. Within minutes the bidding was already well over $100 – with Dave and MaryEl Emerson, Jim McNeil and Pam and Mathew Giltner all trying to out do one another. Then McNeil dropped out and it was the Emersons and Giltners going back and forth.

At this point, I’d broken into a full-on sweat.

As the bidding neared $200, our extraordinary auctioneer led me over to the fray, hoping to put some extra pressure on our earnest bidders. When the Giltners dropped out, it looked like the Emersons would walk away with it. Until two new bidders upped the ante. One dropped out quickly, but the second party – John and Sheila Marshman – kept going.

In the end, the Emersons prevailed – paying an amazing $260 for my award winning thumbprints. (Which works out to about $100 a dozen!) I was pretty overwhelmed.

Of course, as I basked in the adoration, I reminded myself this whole celebrity auction thing wasn’t really about me, or my cookies. It was about the cause. A big thank you to everyone who came out last night for their support of The Children’s Center, and Catholic Charities of Chenango County. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to the lovely Pam Jones, whose recipe I “borrowed.”

Congratulations, too, to Jim Currie, who earned the Golden Cookie award by raising $317 with his entry, and Tom Morrone for taking the Most Creative category. (Although I maintain our county Republican Chair’s inclusion of a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream in his jar was an illegal inducement to bid.)

And of course, kudos to Jane Coddington, Sharon Wilson and all those who dedicated their time to making the event happen.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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