Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Little Chocolate Goes a Long Way

I went grocery shopping today.

Naturally the aisles are filled with "holiday cheer" as Christmas is drawing every closer.  Bins of toys and crayons and ties that aren't usually found in grocery stores are now there for the duration, hoping you'll impulse buy.  Sparkly ornaments are hung from the ceiling even as the massive pile of frozen turkeys are waiting to be purchased for the Thanksgiving feast.

I make it a practice to bypass the seasonal aisle because I know that I am weak and mint M&Ms call my name starting the very day of Halloween.  In fact this year I had Christmas music playing while I baked our Jack-O-Lantern pizza.  My husband was ashamed.  I didn't care.  I liked the way the music made me feel, and that particular day I needed the way that Christmas music makes me feel.  All good and warm inside, like all is right with the world.

But back to today.  Saturday.  The Saturday before Thanksgiving with the aisles packed with feast shoppers and people in line anxious to get checked out and on with the day.  Today I saw the display for Sweet's Orange Sticks.

And I cried.

Well I started to and then remembered that I was in public.  That I had to talk to the cashier to let her know that I am fine and then let the bagger know I wanted paper instead of plastic.  No cash back.  Yes I found everything just fine.  No, there are no special plans for today.  Just the box of orange sticks stuck in the cart at the last minute that I'm not even sure I'll eat.

The box of orange sticks that made me weepy.  That reminds me of the holidays because we always had them.  They were special.  They were a treat.  They were Dad's favorite. He always had them during Christmas.  Stashed away in a drawer or on a shelf.  As soon as they hit the shelves dad would get some.  We always knew they would be appreciated as a supplement to his gift.  A gift card to the movies taped to a box of orange sticks.  A box stuffed into his stocking because no one is too old to hang up a Christmas stocking.

A Christmas stocking that won't be hung up this year.  A stocking that won't have a box of orange sticks in it.  Or anything else.

I don't talk about it much but I miss my dad something fierce.  If you ask I'll say I'm doing well.  And usually I am, at the moment.  It's the little things.  The box of chocolates.  The John Deere tractor that has become a favorite toy for Ben.  Sorting photographs and finding one of the last taken of him.  Wishing it were a better one.  Wishing you had tried harder, been a little more insistent that he smile at the camera instead of trying to get one on the sly.  It's the pair of reading glasses that sit in the guest room that belong to him... the ones that I carefully dust around and then put back.  The stupid half roll of Certs that is still in my laundry room because mom washed some of his clothes here while he was recovering from a procedure.

So today I bought a box of orange sticks, set them on my counter, and cried.


  1. They are my dad's favorite as well and nothing reminds me of Christmas more than a box of those and a box of chocolate covered cherries.

    I'm sorry you miss your dad.

    1. I should have titled it "A Good Cry Goes a Long Way". I'm feeling much better now. And thank you.

  2. What a beautiful post, Lora! I love you, my friend. It IS the little things. My Dad loves these coconut neopolitan candies... Wow, just one thing can create such a lasting memory. I'm so sorry about you Dad too -- but I'm positive he was smiling down on you when you bought those orange sticks and dust around his reading glasses and hold onto those Certs... little gifts that keep his memory alive :)

  3. Hey Lora... If it makes you feel any better, that is the same reaction I'll have the first time I see orange sticks when my dad dies. It's funny the things that trigger the deepest memories, but those will always be one of them. However, I am firmly convinced that every time we think about people we have lost it sets off some kind of alarm on the other side and those people come down to be with us. It must be annoying for them to be tethered to us that way, but somehow I don't think they mind being around whenever we have good memories of them or are thinking about them. I know I'll be there wishing I could comfort anybody who misses me when I'm gone, so I have no doubt your Dad does the same thing. Everything we feel and think about them are felt on the other side and that is what keeps me from missing them too much. I never let anybody get a word in when I'm talking to them anyway, so talking to those who have passed and not hearing back from them is not much different than when they were alive. :) Anyway, don't feel sad when you see the orange sticks. Eat them for him and know that he is still with you.