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York Peppermint Patties

While we are on the subject of parents and candy, I'm suddenly inspired to reminisce about a candy I consider very influential in my life. My father always had York Peppermint Patties; he would buy the giant dispenser box at wholesale markets and he usually carried a few with him. They were the after meal snack, and he would always ask "One or two?" as though a six year old would ever answer with the former. In the later years, when he would go out, my sister Ricca was old enough to be in charge so we had free rein. The first thing we would do is say goodbye and act casual about our plans for the evening. Then as my father went across the driveway to his car we would crouch behind the sofa and peek out the blinds to watch his car pull out. We would then follow the headlights to the front of the house-- all the while crouched beneath the window sills so as not to be seen. Once he was gone we would jump up and head straight to the snack cabinet. We were too short to reach the minty rewards on our own so she would crawl onto the counter and stand straight up, then pass them down to me in handfuls. Afterwords we got to curl up in our pajamas and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, eating as though we were racing against the clock.

Often times we would each fall asleep on either arm of the blue polka dotted sofa and wake up as The Beast (The name of my dads car) parked in the garage. The first thing we would see is the rug and couch littered with tiny aluminum York balls that we had created to throw at each other. In a flash we would scramble to pick up each piece of evidence and throw it in the space between the back of the furniture and the wall.

Ricca and I would look behind the sofa and laugh about how many hundreds of wrappers were back there. My father, who was always a clean guy, never noticed them so we just let them build and build. After he started seriously dating his second wife Lynn, she would spend a lot of time in our house; it was nice to have her around for some feminine energy, but she was a power cleaner. Coming home from school one afternoon I bumped into Lynn and found her cleaning in the den. She gave me a look, smiled, then went back to her vacuuming. She never told my father so we technically got away with it, but I suspect my dad always knew it was there and left it because he saw Ricca and I giggling about how sneaky we were. To be fair, we were pretty clever.

It is the one story I have that both my father and sister laugh about. It is the memory I use to bring it all together and remind myself that no matter how messy things can be, we were a family once and there will always be love in that.

Life Lessons From A Simple-Minded Dog

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