Well, the Halloween candy is stashed.
I’m not telling exactly where, but this year’s goodies are secreted and ready for those moments when temptation should no longer be resisted.
It’s one of the benefits of being on the warm side of the door on Halloween night that the goodies I have tucked away are those I’ve carefully selected to meet my personal taste and preference. It was a grave youthful frustration to get home, bone-chilled and weary, ditch the mask and silly suit and find the goodie bag over weighted with apples, popcorn balls, sugar taffies and cheap bubble gum.
I’d sort out the coveted Snickers and Hersheys, the Salted Nut Rolls and the Baby Ruths, and squirrel them away in the toes of my church shoes, my suit coat pockets and inside my winter mittens — places Mom, Dad and my brother wouldn’t think to look — careful to leave a few of the less-favored Milky Way and Three Musketeers at the back of my underwear drawer, a confectionery head-fake to keep them off the trail of the really good stuff.
Brother Kevin had no call to go through such piratical contortions. He just got home and started eating ... quitting when the candy was gone or he threw up, whichever came first.
Imagine his annoyance when he spotted me topping off my Thanksgiving feast with a Halloween Snickers. He’d yowl and I’d grin and give him the Butterfinger — because I could.
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I still can.
Good things, you see, really do come to those who wait.
I’m not sure where and how I came to understand that. It may have been seeing how the kids who rushed to the front of the line got their fingers slapped and admonished to “leave some for the others” when they grabbed three or four cookies, but the kid at the end of the line could fill his pockets and stuff his face and nobody seemed to notice, much less to care. Or when I realized that if I hung back and watched the eager beavers rush in to screw up I could learn from their stupid mistakes and maybe make fewer of my own.
Less than heroic, perhaps, but I learned young that adventure is often overrated.
And the more I practiced delayed gratification, the more I perfected it. Had I been the subject of one of those experiments where a child is left in a room with a marshmallow and told they will get more if they don’t eat the first ... I’d likely have sat there until I had enough for a batch of Rice Krispie Bars, and a couple to dunk in the cocoa I’d have with them.
“Hang on to what you have and you’ll always have enough,” Mom told me, and, by and large, she was right. You just have to be sure to eat the leftovers before they turn green ...
But it takes a miniature candy bar a long, long time to turn green. I haven’t seen it happen yet. In fact the mini-Nut Goodies I handed out to myself last Halloween were too good to hand out again this year — according to the Oct. 30 quality control check. The one and only group of trick-or-treaters to come to my door got this year’s Butterfinger peanut butter cups — a candy of sock-drawer quality, by my taste anyway.
And when everyone else’s Halloween candy is only a memory, I’ll sit back and have my Snickers at their expense, Almond Joy-ful Twixt Nut Goodies and Musketeers; making my Milky Way through Mounds of wrappers, a $10,000 Bar richer and on a (Salted Nut) Roll. My (Peanut Butter) Cup runneth over.
Jerome Christenson is deputy editor at the Winona Daily News. His phone number is 507-453-3522 — leave a message if he’s not around — or email at jerome.christenson@ winonadailynews.com.
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