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of twinkling lights and ribbon candy…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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!
        Sue

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