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Monday, October 21, 2013

The Care and Feeding of a Candy Hound

When I was growing up, my parents didn’t keep candy in the house. We didn’t even have sugared cereal.

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!
 
If you’re in the holiday mood, check out Tempting Mr. Weatherstone in Five GoldenRings: A Christmas Collection from Avon (available now). The story continues in 2014 in the Wallflower Weddings series. For more information, please visit www.vivlorret.net. Or like me on facebook.

8 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Oh my, Vivienne - we did have candy in our house on special occasions beyond Christmas, Easter and Halloween but it was a Special Treat to have a piece of my Dad's salt water taffy when we went to the beach!

Yes, it's a gift that comes from childbirth - that particular ability to say their child's first and middle name together that rings the bells of doom!

What's interesting is that is what I choose for my pen name - first and middle - Judith Ashley - and now when I hear them together I smile.

My parents would confiscate the candy and dole it out a couple of pieces at a time until Thanksgiving when, lo and behold, it was all gone. I always suspected my Dad, who also had a sweet tooth, of snitching some when we were in bed.

Vivienne Lorret said...

I try to ring the "bells of doom" with my kids, but I'm not very convincing when I burst out laughing at my attempt to be intimidating. Lol

As for my heap of candy, I had an older sister who used her...ahem... powers of persuasion to get me to hand over the goods. So, my romance each year with candy was brief and bittersweet. ;)

Sarah Raplee said...

We were allowed a candy bar on Friday night, and a soda. We also got to stay up and hour past our regular bedtime. But Halloween was magical!

Paty Jager said...

We could have candy but only on special occasions. We lived 12 miles from town so going trick or treating was an adventure. We'd get dressed up and our parents would take us all around tot he good neighborhoods in town. My two brothers and I wouldn't eat any candy until we drove back home. Then we dumped our piles out on the floor and pushed the candies we didn't like into a middle pile and anyone could take from that if they wanted. What was left over my mom would put in a bowl for the adults in the house. My paternal grandparents lived with us. We were allowed to keep our own stash but we had to limit how much we ate.

I could see you trick or treating. Fun post!

Pippa Jay said...

Lol, your story reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with poor Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp)arguing with his dad (Christopher Lee) about candy. Halloween wasn't such a candy-laden event here in the UK, though it has grown in recent years.

Vivienne Lorret said...

Sarah, when I was younger, trick or treating always happened after dark, too. We had to wait for the glow of porch lights to guide us. When the lights went out again, casting shadows and making the glow of jack-o-lanterns eerier, we knew it was time to go home. Staying out later than we normally could on a school night added to the great memories. :)

Vivienne Lorret said...

Paty, your comment reminded me of the time I went trick-or-treating with my friend, who lived in the country. It was a blast taking her to all the "cool" houses. And because it was her first time celebrating Halloween like a townie, we even went to the funeral parlor down the block (even though they only gave out pencils). It was still a lot of fun. Thanks for jogging my memory! :D

Vivienne Lorret said...

Lol, Pippa! Thinking about my dad in the role of Christopher Lee's character makes me laugh because they both have their own brand of intensity--very Prince of Darkness-ish. Hmm...maybe my dad missed his calling. ;)