Yet, my dad had a sweet tooth. He kept a secret stash of Fig Newtons on the top shelf, way in the back, behind mason jars of green beans, stewed tomatoes and homemade cough syrup. He had this freaky ESP about them, too, and always managed to be standing directly behind me, arms crossed and wearing an I-can-see-into-your-soul look that made any verbal reprimand superfluous.
My mom didn’t have a look. Instead, she had a way of saying my first and middle name together that shuddered through my bones as if she’d lowered a nine-pound gavel and sentenced me to 25 years, hard labor, no candy.
However, that didn’t stop me from attempting to liberate a stick of spearmint gum from the perpetually crumpled pack at the bottom of her purse. It was like playing Operation. Only instead of fearing the bleat of the buzzer, I feared the telltale jangle of keys and loose change. Of course, even in victory, I’d found the gum covered with specks of tobacco, and sometimes bits of forgotten foil. To this day, I can’t chew a piece of spearmint gum without remembering the galvanic jolt that zinged through me when my teeth connected with foil.
Of course, I had candy on Christmas—homemade bonbons and fudge at Grandma’s house, along with the required colossal peppermint stick in my stocking. On Easter, my basket was sprinkled with jellybeans and sticky Peeps covered in Astroturf. But the treasure trove of candy—that cornucopia of chocolates, nougats, bubble gum, and licorice—only came on Halloween.
So, October 31st was my day. At last. Angels with sparkly, sugarcoated wings and butterscotch Lifesaver halos sang from on high.
I had one mission: Get as much candy as the orange plastic pumpkin could hold.
I steered clear of the popcorn ball houses (we were one of those), bypassed the pencil givers, and went straight for the good stuff. I wasn’t one of those kids who started snacking right away, munching on a Bit-O-Honey from house to house. No. I liked the anticipation.
I stood at each door, nearly breathless with childhood ecstasy as I repeated the mantra that brought me one step closer to nirvana.
Trick or treat.
Surely, with those words, the existence of magic in its purest form exists, still to this day.
Again, thanks to Christy Carlyle for asking me to step in for her while she’s away. Also, thank you to Judith and Sarah for the warm welcome here at Romancing the Genres. I’m having a great time!