It’s a long way from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Culver Summer Schools & Camps for some chocolate chip cookies – 689 miles and over 10 hours, to be exact.
But that distance is what Susan Jennings Mitchell SS’76, ’79 and Joan Hibbard Prescott ’77 covered to deliver six dozen chocolate chip cookies for the R.H. Ledbetter crew and sailing staff to enjoy after the flagship’s Lake Maxinkuckee outing on July 17.
Mitchell has a special connection to the sailing program. She was one of Capt. Tim Miller’s students during camp and boarding school, then served as a Naval School sailing instructor under Miller in 2003 and 2004. She wanted to do something special for the R.H. Ledbetter crew as a surprise and Miller suggested baking cookies for them.
She baked six dozen and packed them in a large roasting pan so they wouldn’t bake during shipment from Tuscaloosa to Culver. However, she found that Fed Ex would not ship any perishable food items and the Postal Service didn’t have any boxes large enough to accommodate the roasting pan.
That’s when Mitchell invited Prescott to join her on the “Culver Cookie Run” or the “Ledbetter Cookie Run,” depending on whom is telling the tale. Leaving at 4:30 p.m. on July 16, the two pulled into Culver at 3 a.m. on July 17. Fortunately, they had made arrangements for place to stay when they arrived.
Mitchell and Prescott, who taught in the Horsemanship Department during the summers of 1977 and 1997, wanted to surprise Miller with their visit, so they limited their social media and smart phone use so their location along the route wouldn’t be discovered.
Miller had no clue the two women were delivering the cookies in person. He was waiting for a package to arrive at his house.
“I had no idea they were coming,” Miller said. “I was completely taken by surprise.
“The kids loved the cookies, especially the fact that they were homemade,” he added. “I hope this is the start of a tradition: cookies for the Ledbetter crew.”
Mitchell and Prescott’s families are deeply tied to Culver. Mitchell’s son Stewart is a 2003 summer graduate and a 2006 CMA alumnus. Prescott’s daughter, Lauren rode in the 2013 Inaugural Parade and will graduate from Culver this coming spring. Warner Hibbard ’79, Prescott’s brother, will also be visiting Culver during the Communications Relay to cook steaks for the Naval Band, something he has done for the past few years.
For their trouble, Mitchell and Prescott got treated to a ride on Culver’s flagship and a chance to spend time with friends over lunch and dinner. On Thursday, Mitchell and Prescott climbed back in Prescott’s Prius and took off for Tuscaloosa, leaving the cookies behind and letting the chips fall where they may.