Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Penny Candy Love

Up at Timpfest (No, I cannot get enough of telling you about it, before or after, because it is just the most awesome event. You should go next year. Or to their winter festival. It's awesome.) Kim Weitkamp told this story she titled Penny Candy. She tells of how growing up, they never got treats. Mom would stick to that grocery list, and they just didn't get junk food.
Except when dad would empty his pockets of so much loose change, of a Saturday, and send all the kids off to get penny candy. They'd walk a mile and a half to the little store, and spend all kinds of time choosing what to get, and eating some of it, before they'd finally start back home. She mentioned in passing that she loved Squirrel Nut Zippers, which she described as something like Mary Janes.
I like Mary Janes, but I'd never heard of Squirrel Nut Zippers.

I found myself tearing into a bag of these treats not much later (got them at Michael's, if you're interested). And they are NOT like Mary Janes, except in their shape, and the fact that they're a peanut butter candy. That description does not do them justice. They are a clear caramel-type candy, where Mary Janes are opaque, and more like a taffy.
I am now addicted to this treat. And will forever have Kimmie's story going through my head when I eat them.

The punch-line of the story, the surprise, is that while writing it, Kim was going on about how dad must really have liked to treat the kids this way, because when they'd come home, dad would be whistling, and mom would be in a good mood, and....hold on....oh my goodness...
She realized, and this is years later folks, what her parents must have been up to while all the kids were gone. In the middle of a Saturday afternoon.
She calls up her sister, says, hey, you remember when dad would give us his pocket change, and we would all go down to the store to get candy? and how mom and dad were in a good mood when we got home? uh huh. know what mom and dad were doing while we were gone? and her sister gasps, and says nooooo.
So they call their parents, tell them they are kind of upset, so they really need to know, um, what were you and mom doing when we were all gone down to the store to get candy?
Complete silence on the other end of the phone.

Yes, folks, this is the thought that will forever run through my head, whenever I tear into a bag of Squirrel Nut Zippers. And yet, I am still going to eat them. They are just that good.

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