It was always a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, none of that pasty store-bought dough. That prefab cookies taste is like drinking instant coffee, you can immediately tell the difference. It wouldn’t matter, Maisie would never take shortcuts where Nell was concerned. She deserved the best.
All of Maisie’s friends tried to dissuade her from leaving plates of the warm treats, trying to convince her it was only wild animals cleaning the plate.
Maisie would just smile knowingly, feeling pity for their lack of faith.
She knew that when she visited Nell, the little girl was the one who nibbled all the cookies, leaving only crumbs. Squirrels and raccoons would only lick the plate clean, then carry it off to add to their cache. Nell was more polite than that.
When Maisie visited, she’d tell Nell about what was happening in her life. She shared about her job as librarian at Caswell Public Library, how her Queen Elizabeth roses won first place at the Howell County Fair again, and about old Lester, their ancient Bassett Hound. Maisie had to stop bringing Lester on visits because he alway tried to dig up Nell’s plot at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
He knew too.
Then one afternoon, when Maisie visited, a second plate was waiting by Nell’s figurine, a deep, oval serving platter. It looked just like the one Grandma Jools used for her Thanksgiving turkey, and sandwiches the next day.
Maisie just smiled.
On her walk home, Maisie worked out how to bring Nell a turkey sandwich on her next trip.