of twinkling lights and ribbon candy…


Dear Rosa,

It’s funny the things we remember at the holidays. The smells, sounds, the sights that bring us fresh back to childhood.  I hope you don’t mind if I indulge in one of my memories…


Only when I knew Grammy was busy did I dare sneak into the back room. Dark and isolated from the chatter of the kitchen, this small space held mysteries I felt compelled to explore though I knew she wouldn’t approve.  Earle’s voice cut above the others, capturing her attention, and so I moved quickly.

There, along one wall was the daybed Gram used when she couldn’t climb the stairs to her room. But what drew me in was a sideboard covered in twinkling lights and ribbon candy. In a time when huge red, green, blue and yellow bulbs were all the rage – the kind that could set a house on fire- she had delicate, pastel colors.

I stole a glance at the kitchen and moved closer.

She’d wound the strand, like tiny pink and sea-foam blue pearls around her beloved figurines. I lifted on tiptoe. And there, in the back and almost out of reach, was the ribbon candy she put out each Christmas. My dad loved the stuff. I had never tried it.  A burst of laughter assured me she was still busy and so I stole my first taste.

Orange. I would have to be orange, because that was my favorite flavor. Orange ice pops, orange creamsicles… and yes, this new confection bore my eight-year-old soul away.

She’d notice my absence soon. I knew I had precious few minutes to finish savoring that small piece of candy and complete my exploration.

A small artificial tree completed the festive scene and how did it manage to smell of pine? I suppose it was the simple vignette that captured and held my imagination; the sweetness of her traditions that continued even though her babies were grown.

A lull in conversation and I knew I had to return to the bright, warm kitchen, but it was okay, I’d accomplished what I set out to do. The next time though, when visitors would once again distract Grammy, I would check out that door hidden behind the rocking chair- the one that led to the parlor.

A small, cold room that held still more treasures of Mary.


A side note- each Christmas I give my dad a box of ribbon candy. This year, my oldest daughter bought some for him, too. Seems the tradition will continue through another generation.

I’m so glad.


17 thoughts on “of twinkling lights and ribbon candy…

  1. I never liked ribbon candy, but it does hold some memories. They always gave out bags of cheap chocolates, a mandarin orange, and ribbon candy after the Christmas program at our Sunday school.
    Can’t wait to read about Mary’s other treasures.

  2. I feel like I missed out as I have never had ribbon candy.. It must be good if your daughter now gives it to her Grandfather… I love holiday memory stories 🙂

  3. Oh……I haven’t had ribbon candy in years!! Ribbon candy is just the prettiest thing! I believe they sell it at Cracker Barrel, I might have to check that out in person. Yeah, up close and personal. 🙂

    1. I found it at the Christmas Tree Shoppe – do you have one where you live? If not, tooooooooo bad! I now like the look of ribbon candy, but never touch it. I’ll leave that to those who’ve no filings to lose!

      1. my hubbie LOVES this store – I only tolerate it at Christmas time! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Denise. I hope you are well and safe and happy!

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