Saturday, December 18, 2010

Because of a Postcard from Yalta I Won a Plate of Holiday Cookies!

Last night, at around 8:30PM, I received a phone call from Phyllis Lehrer, a columnist for the Amherst Bulletin, who writes the column: Network Amherst: The Lehrer Report.

She congratulated me and told me that my postcard from Yalta made me a winner of her winter postcard contest and that she wanted to know what time (today) she could bring over a plate of cookies that she had made. Phyllis runs a contest twice a year and selects the winners of the postcards sent to her that came from the greatest distance.

In the summer, the prize consists of tomatoes that she has grown. In the winter, the prize is a plate of holiday cookies. She gives out two prizes each time.

The competition this year was tough she told me, since she had identified the Pistrang family as one of the winners (and she had not been able to reach them), but then she had to do some research and serious measuring to determine whether my postcard or a postcard from our wonderful state representative, Stan Rosenberg, who had sent a postcard from Russia, had traveled the greater distance to Amherst. She felt confident that I was the winner. Stan had won this competition before when he sent a postcard from Bhutan, so I hope that he is not too disappointed !

I had been to Yalta last August to give a keynote talk at the Network Science conference there. The trip was an amazing adventure and the conference a big success as well. I can't share the postcard with you, since Phyllis has it, but you can read about my experiences and see photos here.

Above is the plate with wrapping and card that Phyllis brought over this morning. The collection of cookies consisted of: chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, molasses, chocolate with peanut butter chips and peanut butter with chocolate kisses.

As someone who has written several times about baking cookies (and the logistics, thereof, since I practice what I teach at the Isenberg School), Phyllis' generosity and kindness capture in a unique way not only this special time of year but why the town of Amherst is like no other!

Thank you, Phyllis Lehrer. The cookies are delicious!

And as for what Stan Rosenberg was doing in Bhutan, this UMass Amherst grad was hiking the Himalayas!

********* Updated on December 24, 2010*******************************

The official announcement from Phyllis Lehrer in The Amherst Bulletin is here.