The cinnamon sugar atop the compact disc-sized snickerdoodle acts as a neon sign.
This homemade chunk of heaven is just begging clean-cut Brandon Hockersmith, 21, of Stratford, to snatch it from the white plastic tray.
It had been three months since the U.S. Army private first class made it home to peach country in Garvin County. Now, the four-day pass is up and it's back to Camp Shelby, Miss.
When he arrived at Will Rogers World Airport at 6 a.m., the flights were overbooked. So instead of waiting for hours in the terminal, he's been on a leather couch in the YMCA's Military Welcome Center, hugging his wife, Shenay Hockersmith.
In the other room, two young men are playing “Blacks Ops” on the Xbox 360 while two buddies watch.
The welcome center, a joint effort of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, the Armed Forces YMCA, Will Rogers World Airport and so many organizations, offers a restful and relaxing atmosphere each year for about 30,000 traveling active or retired military members from all branches, as well as allies.
Down the wall, John Cox of Madison, Ind., taps a text on his phone with two pieces of pepperoni pizza on a plate before him. The 19-year-old anxiously awaits the bus to take him to basic training at Fort Sill.
Ever been to Oklahoma?
“No sir, I've never been this far west,” he replied.
To kill time and soothe his nerves, he's devoured a mammoth chocolate chip cookie, played on the Xbox 360 and checked his Facebook back in the computer room.
The military welcome center is 3,600 square feet of home nestled in a cargo bay just outside the east side door of Will Rogers' Baggage Claim 1. The center opened four years ago this month inside the airport terminal.
Back then it could seat about 15 people, had one television and two computers amid about 750 square feet. The traffic kept increasing. Plus, the hours of the center expanded from about 40 to about 90 hours a week.
So the move was made last year to the cargo bay. Now there's seating for about 100 people, plus two televisions, six computers — and, oh yes, three guitars.
“They get played very regularly,” said Clyde Tullos, a retired Army soldier serving as the Center's director. “Over in the corner is the karaoke machine. The volunteers encourage the young men and women to use it, and they do.”
The karaoke machine and the guitars are new touches. But some old aspects remain.
They still offer the paperback books that can be stuffed in the backpacks to take on the plane or bus.
They still break out the board games.
“The loudest I ever heard it in here was over a game of Monopoly,” Tullos said.
There's still the military patches on the metal walls.
And there's still the volunteers — about 38 active ones — including Ramona Duff, who drives Interstate 40 each Wednesday from Weatherford to open the center by 8 a.m.
This is her second tour of volunteer duty at the center in the past three years. Why? Because her granddaughter Angela Duff of the U.S. Air Force, deployed in 2008 before returning in 2009, was deployed again last year.
“I felt like since she was defending our country, I needed to be here to support her,” Duff said. “I make sure they have plenty to eat and drink and activities to keep them busy.
“And if they need to sit and talk, I listen.”
And yes, there's still plenty of drinks and snacks, all free for the taking to these current or retired military personnel. They can grab a bag of Lay's barbecue potato chips or open one of the boxes containing Girl Scouts Samoas or Thin Mints.
These are the little things of home that can seem like a lot, especially to a wide-eyed, nervous teen headed off to basic training.
That's who Brandon Hockersmith was the first time he visited the welcome center in the terminal a few years ago.
“It was good because the ladies talk to you and keep your mind off where you're going and what you're about to do,” Hockersmith said. “Because when you're going to basic you don't know what you're about to step into.”
So did they offer you a snickerdoodle back then?
“Yes sir,” he said smiling, “It's like being at home with your grandma.”