Walmart's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Submitted into Contest #59 in response to: Set your story in a small town where everyone is suspicious of newcomers.... view prompt

55 comments

Drama

It was Evie who wanted the kids, Orville remembers. Orville would have been content drinking coffee with his Evie in the mornings, looking out the window, watching the birds at the bird feeder, quietly listening to her go on about this and that.  

“When does the school bus come, Ollie?” Evie asks. 

“About 3:30,” Orville replies for the third time. 

“I want to make some cookies for the girls. How about oatmeal raisin?” Evie suggests, her eyes look hopeful, full of purpose. 

Orville covers his wife’s tiny hand with his big calloused one. Farming takes its toll on the body. 

“We can go down to Walmart to buy some cookies,” Orville suggests. He will not let her near the oven or the stove anymore. Not after last time.

“Or snickerdoodles! Janey likes snickerdoodles. You can help me roll out the dough,” Evie jumps up from the table at the idea of something to do. She heads over to the spice cabinet, full of tiny tins of seasonings and spices that have long lost their flavor. 

No one cooks in the house anymore.

“I’ll mix up the cinnamon sugar to dip the cookies in,” Evie says, searching in vain for a bowl. She opens and closes cabinets. Sometimes the same ones. 

She’s lost in this room, Orville thinks. Her kitchen. Even though she has spent the better part of fifty years cooking for their family—the best home cooking he’s ever had. Evie had been a better cook than even his own mother, Orville admits almost blasphemously. But no one made better pies than Evie did, cutting out ornate flowers and swirls of decorations in her pie crusts for the fruit juices to bubble out through.  

He watches her find a colander in a lower cabinet. She takes it out and dumps in a half tin of spice.

“Evie, that’s cumin,” Orville patiently explains.

“Are you sure it’s not cinnamon? Janey likes cinnamon. I want to make cookies for the girls before they come home from school,” Evie says pleadingly. 

“The girls don’t go to school anymore,” Orville says.

“Where do they go?” Evie whispers to Orville as her eyes grow wide. 

“The girls are all grown up. They live in different cities with their own families. But Maggie is coming to visit us tomorrow.”

“Is Janey coming?”

“No, Janey is not coming this time,” Orville replies slowly. Janey, their eldest daughter. Too full of grudges from days past. 

“Maggie is nice,” Evie says half-heartedly. Maggie the middle child. Evie looks down at the cumin leaking through the holes in the colander. “Maybe we can buy some cookies at the store for her.”

“All right then,” Orville smiles and helps his wife wipe up the mess. 


Orville watches Maggie’s car drive up the long unpaved road. She drives like she lives: reckless, impatient, loud.

Although Orville cares deeply for all of his daughters, Maggie has a certain way about her. Unlikeable, Orville shocks himself by admitting the truth about Maggie that he has suppressed since her childhood. Unlikeable. At this point, what does it matter if he is completely honest with himself? He is the only person he has to talk to. He can love his daughter and still admit the truth to himself. Unlikeable.

“DAA-AD,” Maggie enters, her voice always grating. Drawing out the syllables in her words. Taking over people. Interrupting and interjecting her views, welcomed or not. 

“Hello little dear,” Orville holds the door open and offers to help with her bags. She bustles in without a proper greeting with far too much luggage for her short visit.

“Where is Moo-om? How are things going? Is she still losing it? I was reading up on Alzheimer's and there are some new treatments we should talk about,” Maggie says.

Orville looks at his feet.

“MOO-OM,” she bleats, walking through the house. She circles back around to Orville. “Is she lost, Daa-ad? Do you even know where she is?”

“Your mother is resting. She takes naps during the day,” he says.

“She’s losing it, isn’t she?”

“Your mother has good days and bad days,” Orville replies. 


Evie wakes up a little later and joins them in the living room. A game show on the television bleeps and buzzes as contestants answer trivia questions.

“MOO-OM? Are you up finally?” Maggie stands to hug Evie.

“Is Janey here?” Evie asks.

“No, Moo-om. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just me,” Maggie sulks, gathering her tiny mother into her arms.

“Maggie! Did you just have a baby?” Evie wonders aloud.

“Janey has all the babies, Moo-om. I decided not to have any children,” Maggie states firmly. 

“Are Janey’s children home from school?” Evie looks from Maggie to Orville, looking for some sort of confirmation. 

“I don’t know, Moo-om. Janey lives in Tennessee. Dad said you want to go to Walmart,” Maggie says. “Do you want to go buy cookies? We can buy some ginkgo biloba. It will help with your memory.” Maggie points at her own head. 

“What’s wrong with my memory,” Evie looks at Orville. Orville shoots a look at Maggie. A warning shot.

“It’ll just help,” Maggie replies, noting her father’s lips, pressing firmly into a thin line. 


The checkout lines at Walmart are longer than usual. Evie clutches two packages of Great Value oatmeal raisin cookies. Orville nods to his neighbors in the aisles, having known most of them his entire life.

Maggie’s impatience with this errand is obvious, as she makes disparaging remarks about the products, the store, the town, the cashier. 

“All right then,” he says firmly, letting Maggie know that her opinion on the quality of Walmart’s merchandise is unwarranted. 

The locals look at Orville’s middle daughter with a healthy dose of suspicion. Even Maggie is self-aware enough to feel the townspeople's eyes on her.

Is she the one that caused Ollie and Evie all that trouble? 

I think their middle child got in the family way by the Sampson boy in middle school. They sent her away to have the baby and put it up for adoption. At least, that's what I heard.

Ollie tracked her down in Dallas when she ran away in high school. She met an older man at the roadhouse outside Lubbock.


After eating take out barbecue for dinner, Evie opens up the packages of cookies for dessert.

Maggie is unusually quiet. 

“I miss your apple pie, Moo-om,” she finally says.

“I can make you a pie right now, Janey!” Evie hops up from the table, eyes alight, but she manages to spill the plate of remaining cookies. 

Orville quickly bends to pick them up from off the hardwood floor. 

“I’m not Janey, Moo-om,” Maggie whispers, leaving the table with her hands over her eyes. 

Orville says nothing. 

Maggie would leave in the morning, cutting her visit short.


“It’s getting dark out, Ollie.”

“It is, Evie.”

“Don’t you think the girls should be home by now? What time does the school bus come, anyway?” Evie asks her husband, eyes wide with complete trust, a light smile on her still-beautiful mouth.

“It’ll be by soon enough,” Ollie says, covering her hand with his.

“I’m too tired to make anything for dessert tonight. Is that all right?” she asks.

“All right then,” he replies, leaning over to kiss her soft cheek. 



September 14, 2020 22:16

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55 comments

Doubra Akika
08:49 Sep 17, 2020

This was so heartbreaking. As a middle child, I can sort of relate, but I don't think I was so unbearable. At least I hope not. I love Ollie and Evie's relationship. I have since the doctor's office and even when they danced together. Their relationship is so sweet and so sad at the same time. Ollie is so sweet and patient with her. Love like that is such a precious thing. You know I've been sort of a die-hard Deidra fan for a while. I honestly loved it. Thank you for breaking my heart in the process. Hope you're staying safe! Love D&D

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Deidra Lovegren
10:48 Sep 17, 2020

D&D forever

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Doubra Akika
10:56 Sep 17, 2020

Definitely!

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00:39 Sep 21, 2020

You've conveyed Ollie's love for Evie through this devastating stage in a moving way. The heartbreak of Maggie realising her mother doesn't know her any more is very real

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Deidra Lovegren
00:53 Sep 21, 2020

Thanks 🙏🏻 Lynne There’s a prequel if you’re interested

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Maggie Deese
02:48 Sep 20, 2020

This was so heartbreaking, Deirdra. I adore the way Ollie loves Evie and the way he cares for her. It is a sad thing to watch your loved one slowly drift away, especially when the kids won't even stick around to help. Gorgeous job!

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Julie Bissell
23:16 Sep 19, 2020

This is sad, and so accurate. Ollie's patience and his practised replies to Evie's questions are lovely - and I can relate to being called by the wrong name by a parent with memory problems. Such a deep depiction of the characters in a few words - wonderful piece.

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Deidra Lovegren
23:40 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks, Julie. There is a prequel -- "Dance With The One Who Brought You" if you care to see more of the journey of these two. Dementia is a daily heartbreak for sure.

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Azul Ahtōlli
05:33 Sep 23, 2020

This is a perfect encapsulation of someone living with dementia (in this case alzheimer's) and the toll it takes on the family. Speaking from personal experience, I could immediately connect with both Orville and Maggie. Really, really well written. Awesome job!

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Deidra Lovegren
08:36 Sep 23, 2020

Thank you Azul. God bless your family ❤️

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V W
00:01 Sep 23, 2020

Once I started reading, the scene played very vividly in my head. The beginning line "It was Evie who wanted the kids" grabbed my attention instantly and set the tone for the rest of the story. I admire your succinct prose and thought it matched beautifully with the setting.

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Deidra Lovegren
00:11 Sep 23, 2020

Thanks 😊 V W

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Eleanor Inn
08:44 Sep 22, 2020

I love this story - it is so wholesome, and captured the dysfunctionality of family - while still caring for each other, perfectly! It is an utterly heart-wrenching story and I felt for their family with every sentence! Keep up the wonderful work!! :)) P.S. I'm an amateur writer (12 years old). If you wouldn't mind, could you read one of my stories? This is my first time in a competition and I would love feedback! ;)

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18:14 Sep 19, 2020

This was so well written. It was so heartbreaking. Amazing Job!! :)

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Deidra Lovegren
18:21 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks, Aubrey! You're comments are so appreciated. Happy writing :)

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Nusa Zam
16:13 Sep 19, 2020

Aw.. heartbreaking 🥺

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Deidra Lovegren
17:09 Sep 19, 2020

Family is c o m p l i c a t e d

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Nusa Zam
18:09 Sep 19, 2020

For real!! You captured it so beautifully though; the reality of it!!

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Jonathan Blaauw
12:16 Sep 19, 2020

Hi D. The other day I was reading a story by your Reedsy daughter (as loony as her Reedsy mom) and I was struck, not for the first time, how incredible your comments are, especially for younger writers. You manage to sprinkle your suggestions in with your praise in such a cool way, it makes me think you're a great teacher and parent in real life. Just thought you should be reminded you are an asset to this community. I was sending out invitations to my new story yesterday and ran out of time before I could send you one. So consider yourse...

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Jonathan Blaauw
12:18 Sep 19, 2020

OMG! That was an honest to god typo in the last line. I'm not going to change it, though, because I know you're going to have fun with that 🤣🤣

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Deidra Lovegren
13:21 Sep 19, 2020

Well, it might as well be an erection since if things go poorly we’re f——ed. (Low hanging fruit, there. You teed it up perfectly.)

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Deidra Lovegren
13:24 Sep 19, 2020

I put a picture of me with my cat on NoMoWriteMo(???) so we are related now. Reading your story now.

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Jonathan Blaauw
14:40 Sep 19, 2020

If it helps, I've discovered it stands for National Novel Writing Month, hence NaNoWriMo. That was a revelation for me. Your cat is wonderful. Next, please add an author description and a list of favorite books/authors (Shakespeare first, obviously. Will, not Brad, also obviously). Then, announce your novel to the world. After that... I have no idea, that's pretty much where I'm at. No, we will have novels out by the end of 2021, okay? We have to hold each other to that. 🐈 In this day and age, I'm very surprised they only give us a sing...

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Sunny Iyer
06:46 Sep 19, 2020

This was so beautiful. Often it is very difficult to make the readers empathize with the characters in a mere 1000 words or so but you've done a great job!

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Deidra Lovegren
07:02 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks! Easy to love Ollie. Hard to love Maggie, and there’s a Maggie in every family.... There’s a prequel if you’re interested? “Dance with the One Who Brought You”

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Sunny Iyer
07:09 Sep 19, 2020

I'll check it out asap :)

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Steve Alink
06:30 Sep 19, 2020

Saw this post being in the open, while the jury is still reading. So ahead of time people can comment. Weird that the other 926 stories are still hidden at this moment. Hope this glitch of the Reedsy software helps you.

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Deidra Lovegren
06:34 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks, Steve 😀 Fun fact, I wrote all the other 926 stories, so I’m feeling confident about my chances. Haha

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Katina Foster
05:18 Sep 19, 2020

Hi Diedra! Great story! I loved seeing these two again, and meeting more of the family. I have a person in my extended family that I swear you based Maggie off of. It was very well done. All your characters have very distinct personalities, making it easy to picture them. I also like how the favorite (and I assume, likeable) daughter isn't the one who is visiting. It might have been a little too sweet if done that way. Maggie visiting instead of Janey made it more realistic somehow. All the little details and interactions from this smal...

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Deidra Lovegren
06:20 Sep 19, 2020

As a third daughter, I wonder why no one cares about the youngest? Haha Your comments are so welcomed and appreciated. I plan on knocking out my Ollie & Evie novel next summer on school break. At this point, I’m getting the voices down and the plot is unfolding itself to me. Evie will pass and Ollie will have to move on (and find love again?) and sort out his adult children. Yes, Maggie will be a total mess — her childhood will reveal why. I think the poet Wordsworth wrote “the child is the father of the man.” We are all adult products of ...

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Pragya Rathore
16:35 Sep 15, 2020

This was lovely! I thought at first that they were new parents, but the truth was even more heartbreaking... I think my favorite part about this story is that no matter how many times Evie asks when her children will be back from school, Ollie always replies patiently with love in his eyes. Also, the way you described Evie is realistic, simple and sweet. A compelling read. Awesome work, as usual! :)

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Deidra Lovegren
17:25 Sep 15, 2020

Thanks, Pragya. There's a prequel "Dance with the One Who Brought You." I love Ollie and Evie. #relationshipgoals

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Pragya Rathore
09:56 Sep 16, 2020

Going to check it out right now ;)

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Laura Clark
12:37 Sep 15, 2020

Deidra, this was beautiful. What a brilliant representation of three very different characters with three sets of worries. The reveal of Evie’s illness wasn’t meant as a shock reveal, I don’t think, but by layering up the hints and then telling us, it still gave that sense of uncovering information as a reader that felt really satisfying. Maggie was indeed very irritating. By writing the stretched o each time, I heard it in my head and each time it grated. But it was sweet that her dad was like ‘yeah I love her but I don’t have to li...

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Deidra Lovegren
13:54 Sep 15, 2020

Laura Clark, you are the smartest writer on Reedsy. As a fellow English teacher, I truly appreciate your erudite commentary more than you can know. I joined Reedsy to rediscover my love for writing and to "find" the characters that I want to emotionally invest in for a longer work. Ollie and Evie are my Team Deidra. And their wonderful/awful three daughters. King Lear is in there somewhere... Thanks for being so supportive. I'm actually typing this between classes. I'm sure my students are equally involved in non-academic pursuits. I ...

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Laura Clark
14:38 Sep 15, 2020

You are far too kind to me. I am happy to be able to give good feedback though! Yes, you should definitely join NaNoWriMo! I’m Laura.Clark or LauraClark - I can’t remember but it’s definitely one of those!

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Deidra Lovegren
14:13 Sep 15, 2020

Blaauw said all the cool kids are on NaNoWriMo. What is your user name so I can stalk you? Mine is tricky: Deidra Lovegren :) Let's go write some novels! YAY

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Jonathan Blaauw
11:29 Sep 15, 2020

Deidra, this was heartbreakingly beautiful! Very much a departure from your funny stuff, but just as good. You're such a clever writer and your work is always so smooth, I keep wanting it to go on. You've portrayed the characters in such detail, it makes the story come alive. You've nearly killed me twice with laughter, now you tug on the heartstrings. Only really good writing can do that. I was listening in to the comment below, and have two things to add. 1) I'm definitely going to read the prequel. 2) You MUST write a novel. Please....

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Deidra Lovegren
13:45 Sep 15, 2020

NaNoWriMo? Isn't that an American hip hop artist from the 1990's? You had me at Jonathan Blaauw and Laura Clark. Who is this Katrina you speak of? Sounds like I need to read her stuff.

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Deidra Lovegren
14:11 Sep 15, 2020

OK, I'm now a NaNoWritMoFocker: Deidra.Lovegren is my handle. Let's write this thing!

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Jonathan Blaauw
19:22 Sep 15, 2020

Oh, you're thinking of that rapper who passed away. After the funeral they called him HeNoRhymeNoMo. Easy mistake to make though, you were close. I'm very glad you joined, I'll buddy with you asap. Katina is wonderful, I found her on here. She's from Kansas City (different from Kansas, apparently. Who knew?) but we shouldn't hold that against her. At least it's not... I was going to say Florida, but have wisely restrained myself. And you'll find our favourite Laura there as well (on WriMo I mean, not in Kansas). I heard your buddy in the ...

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Deidra Lovegren
19:32 Sep 15, 2020

Kansas and Kansas City, all known for barbecue and ruining politics. Our White House Squatter is up for the "NoHell" Prize, short for No-Way-In-Hell, as he is neither a prize nor noble nor nobel nor knowledgeable. He is not remotely evolved from the blue green algae which spawned his current gelatinous semi-solid oozing pustule human form. But as usual, I remain apolitical.

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Katina Foster
05:31 Sep 19, 2020

Ah! Creeping on your comments after posting mine and now I need to interject. :) I'm going to find you on NaNoWriMo and send you a request. Maybe the four of us should have a writing group on there! And yeah... Kansas City. I have to give Jonathan props for knowing that Kansas City is in Missouri when our own president (ughgh.. still makes me cringe to call him that) was unaware of that fact. He tweeted congratulating the great state of Kansas after the Cheifs won the superbowl and people here lost their goddamn minds. Seriously thoug...

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Leya Newi
23:22 Sep 14, 2020

This was so sad and heartfelt. I felt for Maggie, and Ollie, and Evie. All the characters, really, and you left me wanting to know more. A really well done story, Deidra!

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Deidra Lovegren
23:28 Sep 14, 2020

This is another “Ollie and Evie” story. If you wish, my other story is “Dance With The One Who Brought You“ — a prequel. I’m thinking of writing this little family into a novel next summer when school is out...(I’m an English 👩‍🏫 teacher.)

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Leya Newi
01:44 Sep 16, 2020

Ooh, I definitely go back and read it! Thank you for letting me know!

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Tina Laing
11:24 Sep 23, 2020

Ahh! This was a sweet story about two people, who loves each other very much. So sad too ,but it is a wonderful story. Good job

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Deidra Lovegren
14:45 Sep 23, 2020

I hope we all have a spouse who is so loving :)

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Tariq Saeed
15:46 Sep 20, 2020

Your describing is good.

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Deidra Lovegren
16:16 Sep 20, 2020

Thanks, Tariq!

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Dhananjay Sharma
10:15 Sep 20, 2020

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/59/submissions/34852/ give a read to mine

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Karen Mc Dermott
22:16 Sep 22, 2020

*please

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