Bill Littlefield speaks with Chris Garbarino, a retired New York City police officer, about his book The Cookie That Did Not Crumble. The book is about Garbarino’s relationship with the late Cookie Gilchrist, a former running back in the Canadian Football League and the AFL.
The Cookie That Did Not Crumble has a better claim than most to that distinction.
Chris Garbarino, a retired police officer who lives on Staten Island, first encountered Cookie Gilchrist on Facebook. As a football fan, Garbarino couldn’t believe his luck at connecting with the former running back who’d torn up the Canadian Football League and made several AFL All-Star Teams as a member of the Buffalo Bills during the early and mid-sixties.
But Garbarino soon learned that Gilchrist was in need of serious assistance. Suffering from various physical ailments as well as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the former football star could no longer take care of himself. Garbarino became not only Gilchrist’s friend, but his advocate with health providers and, eventually, the hospital where Gilchrist died in January, 2011.
The Cookie That Did Not Crumble consists of Gilchrist’s account of his own triumphs, struggles, and demons, and it includes and the commentary Garbarino added to hold Gilchrist’s observations together. Garbarino talks about the book as his effort to remind people that Cookie Gilchrist was a great player, but the lasting achievement of his humble effort is the chronicle of an unlikely and powerful friendship.