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Archive for Monday, December 25, 2000

Tradition of cookies warms small town

Christmas deliveries from family have grown to 600 dozen treats

December 25, 2000

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— It's a family tradition dating back a quarter century making Christmas cookies, and delivering them to friends and neighbors by horse-drawn wagon.

Clint Suhr was just 5 when it began. His mom and dad bundled up him and his brother, hooked up the horses and set out to deliver the cookies to neighbors in the little town of Morrill, in northeast Kansas near the Nebraska border.

Last Saturday was Clint's day to claim the tradition for his own family. Now 30, he and his wife, Kim, have two little boys of their own and live on a farm in rural Assaria, south of Salina.

At the barn, Clint hooked up two of his parents' draft horses complete with red bows and jingle bells to a green, wooden wagon and started out with his wife and sons to bring the family's tradition to the Assaria area.

His mother, Janice Suhr, also came along. As well she should, since she was the one who baked all the cookies the Suhrs were distributing Saturday.

In Morrill, the tradition has grown to include the entire town and even the nearby town of Sabetha. That means the number of cookie sheets Janice slides into the oven has increased year after year since the first time 25 years ago.

This year, she made 600 dozen cookies that's 7,200 of them as Christmas presents for neighbors, friends and strangers. Mrs. Suhr starts mixing dough Nov. 1 and bakes almost every night after she gets home from her job at a nursing home.

When the flour has settled and the oven has cooled, 28 different kinds of cookies are packed away in two freezers. Each Christmas box gets 56 cookies two of each kind.

Through the years, the kind of cookies she bakes has become more varied because whenever she tries to phase one out, it's invariably someone's favorite.

The Suhrs, including Clint and his family and their son John and his family, who live in Morrill, gathered Saturday and clip-clopped their way through town delivering Christmas cheer.

Arnie Suhr, Clint's dad and Janice's chief taste-tester and sugar cookie decorator, thought the idea of distributing cookies to neighbors was a good one because it taught his family why giving is important.

"That's what Christmas is all about, and it was good for the boys to learn," he said.

Her husband learned, too, Mrs. Suhr said.

"One year, we were short on money, and I told Arnie I didn't know if we could afford to do the cookies," Janice said. "He said forget my present let's do the cookies."

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