Today is my birthday. And I believe that birthdays are milestones to be celebrated. Not necessarily with gifts, or even with people. But always in your heart. And if at all possible, with cake.
When you’ve faced death and survived, entering each new year is a joyous occasion for the rest of your life. Turning 50? Bring it on. However high the number goes (59 today), it means I’ve lived another full year of life, a year I didn’t expect to have. Which means every birthday is happy.
But this philosophical stuff about birthdays and celebrations will have to wait for another blog. Because even on my birthday, there is now something more pressing– something unsettling that could potentially ruin my birthday. Not only this year, but every year.
July 4 is cursed for me because of all the bad things that happened on that day. So is my anniversary. And now my birthday will be linked forever with the news I just read on the internet: Mrs. Fields Cookies is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Debbi, Debbi, how could this happen? (Of course Mrs. Fields and I are on a first name basis.) I have followed your success since you opened your first store on August 18, 1977– ironically enough, also during my birthday week. I’ve been a faithful customer over many years and many, many, many, many cookies.
You hurt me badly once, when I was moving to a new town which had a Mrs. Fields only four blocks from my new house—and you closed that store the very week I moved in. It took me awhile to get over that. I could not find a Mrs. Fields cookie within 50 miles. But I forgave you. And I never held it against you. Wherever I went, all over the country, finding Mrs. Fields in a mall was all it took to make my day. And I went into every store, and waited to buy your cookies, no matter how long the line was. I have never, ever walked out empty-handed–not only buying the cookie I ate in the store, but the ones I took home. I’ve accepted your culinary experiments, even when you dropped the combination of macadamia nuts with semi-sweet chocolate in favor of white chocolate, which I don’t like. I toughed it out, and remained loyal anyway.
Before we had children, my ex-husband would give me a birthday wish written on one of your decorated cookies that was approximately the diameter of a beachball. My children have continued that tradition of the giant cookie (in addition to the cake I always have). But now, given the news of your economic downfall, I’m wondering: is this year the end of the road for us? Will I have to celebrate future birthdays without Mrs. Fields?
I hope you won’t mind, Debbi, since I think of you as a friend–if I give you a little friendly advice–based on my personal experiences with my own challenges. I’ve survived despite the odds, and I know you can, too. Facing a bankruptcy may not be easy, but you have proven yourself before and you can do it again. For your company–and for the rest of us who count on you. I have complete confidence that you can get through this, and live to bake another day (and many more cookies.)
So I will be pulling for you, Mrs. Fields, hoping you’ll be cashing in the chips again. Despite all the calories, you’ve contributed to many memorable occasions over the years. But in the end, the honest truth is that with or without your cookies, my birthday today–and every other birthday—will always be happy– just because I am here to celebrate it.