For the Love of Candy

No matter how much we hammer the religious significance of Easter into our children’s little heads, their minds default to one thing this time of year: the candy.

Sure, they put on flouncy dresses and stiff ties, kneel angelically in prayer, and pose for pictures on the church steps. But secretly, every kid is patiently awaiting the main event: the Easter Egg Hunt. Once released from the confines of the church, kids all over the world run like crazed prison escapees across lawns, through apartments, and between houses, viciously knocking each other over in search of sugary confections packed into brightly colored plastic eggs.

Back in the 70s when I grew up, the objects of our hunt were slightly different. Somehow, the Easter Bunny broke into our house every year, found the hard-boiled eggs that we dyed, and scattered them around our yard.

After church, my brother and I would burst from the family station wagon and race through the yard in search of the eggs and our baskets. Usually, the eggs, which had apparently been hidden for more than an hour, were smeared from the dewy grass, and the drippy food coloring often got on the white gloves I wore with my crocheted Easter dress each year.

My older brother didn’t particularly like hard-boiled eggs, but the competitive nature of the hunt sent him on a wild rampage. He often whizzed past me, swooping in to grab his prize. I didn’t mind much, because I knew that the Easter Bunny had my back. I knew there was candy somewhere especially for me. Sure enough, I would eventually find it – an Easter basket behind a shrub or under a sawhorse in the garage, with my name on it, packed with sweet treats.

My brother and I also always had one filled egg or a chocolate bunny in the center of our baskets – surrounded by what seemed like an eternal supply of Brach’s jellybeans, marshmallow “Peeps,” and tiny foil-covered Hershey chocolate eggs nestled in the strands of plastic grass. For the most part, my parents allowed us free reign to dive into the spoils of our hunt, provided we ate the obligatory slice of ham and plop of scalloped potatoes at supper.

Back then, however, I exhibited some early hoarding tendencies, and was known to squirrel away the basket in my room for safekeeping. I would ration slices of my filled egg for as long as I could, until it eventually became a hardened, crystallized lump that I had to throw away. In retrospect, I wish I had stuffed my face while I could, because later, during my chunky years, the Easter Bunny inexplicably brought me sugarless gum and packs of raisins.

Today, however, the Easter Bunny has more options. The fruit and nut-filled eggs of the past have been replaced by an endless array of individually wrapped chocolate confections, all miniaturized to fit into a bright plastic egg that won’t ruin one’s Easter dress.

Gone are the days when purple jellybeans reigned superior – those candy dinosaurs have been edged out by tiny one-inch square miniature candy bars in every brand: Snickers, Milky Ways, Reese’s, Whoppers, Baby Ruths, M&Ms, Kit Kats, Butterfingers, Hershey Bars, Peppermint Patties, Twizzlers, Starburst, and Skittles, to name a few.

All these relative newcomers have replaced old beloveds like Mallow Cups, Zagnuts, Gold Mine Gum Sacks, Necco Wafers, Good-N-Plenty, Sugar Daddies, Razzles, Chuckles, Circus Peanuts, Chick-o-Sticks, Boston Baked Beans, Charleston Chews and Bubblegum Cigarettes. Even though the packaging is different, the sentiment is still the same: Kids want candy on Easter and lots of it.

One might conclude that candy is the evil vice that has sucked the meaning out of the holiday. But I like to think that the tiny tasty confections are just our children’s rewards for donning itchy dresses and suits, sitting on hard wooden pews, and choking down rubbery ham and soggy green beans. And besides, watching the joy on their faces during an Easter egg hunt is really God’s gift to us on Easter, and He doesn’t mind us indulging in that sweetness one bit.

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Comments: 23

  1. […] “For the love of candy”  (www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com) […]

  2. Charleen Coulter April 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Lisa, thank you for the warm moments spent with your recollection of Easters past. Of course your reference to the crocheted dress brought as clear a picture of you as if it was real. I wondered if you remember an Easter when your family lived in Jennerstown and Pop Spatz made little bunny foot prints the dusting of snow leading to the prized baskets hanging safely in a tree. I loved that his footprints along side of the “bunny” prints didn’t dim the excitement of almost catching sight of the Easter Bunny. You make my heart smile. Aunt Char

    • Lisa Smith Molinari April 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm Reply

      I don’t remember that, Aunt Char, but I have heard so many stories about the few years we lived in Jennerstown. Most of the stories I have heard involve the State Trooper that lived next door, Homer Goon, and his lovely wife who had no teeth. And isn’t it funny that Pop was putting bunny prints in the SNOW on Easter?? You gotta love Western, PA!

  3. Mary Jo April 2, 2010 at 11:22 am Reply

    My children are so jaded that when I told them we were going to Strasbourg this weekend the first thing out of their mouths was “What about our Easter presents?” I have not found PEEPs here or those awful “Circus Peanuts” my dad so loved….

    • Lisa Smith Molinari April 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm Reply

      Sure, there may not be yucky Circus Peanuts in Germany, but there’s lots of other icky candy like marzipan, and the Germans can “gummify” just about anything ….blech.

  4. Becky Seedlock March 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Lisa,
    I want to join your group in Germany. You are a great writer and keep up the blog. When reading your story, it felt like I was right there with you. So entertaining. Aunt Becky

  5. Wendy March 13, 2010 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Lisa,
    Love the blog and your real life account of being human. Keep it up! If you are planning on coming back to the US anytime soon let me know. I get to Europe often, but not Germany. Great job, lol.

  6. Mary Jo Driscoll March 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Oh I just can’t decide….I’ll go for MILF because it is a funny story and you can continue to humiliate your son long after the actual event. (PS – maybe someday you can re-enact that Navy Ball picture….you look like you had a lot more fun that night than I did!)

    • Lisa Smith Molinari March 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm Reply

      I think we had just won a Sony Handi-cam in the raffle . . . . or they announced that dessert was being served, either way, I was jumping for joy!

  7. Grace C March 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm Reply

    I am voting for I’m so cool…. that is my drinking buddy I know… by the way have some new drinks to try this summer 😉

  8. Lyn H March 11, 2010 at 7:35 am Reply

    I vote for MILF but really want to know what you were doing to warrant that hair in the last picture!!!

    I love your blog an have forwarded to tons of friends!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari March 11, 2010 at 8:49 am Reply

      Lyn — The “hair fire” was due to a dance move that I am way too old to be doing. You know the one where you act like your neck is rubber and swing your head around? Needless to say, the next day I experienced extreme paralysis!

  9. Heather March 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm Reply

    I am voting for MILF of course! haha

  10. Laura in A2 March 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm Reply

    Oh, Lisa. Hopefully you can’t hear my howls of laughter, and *snorting* as I try to quit laughing and read the blog post to Bob. You have an amazing gift, and as long as you’re writing, I’ll be reading. Do you mind if I share your blog with my family and friends?

  11. Maz March 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm Reply

    Another LOL entry!
    So glad I sat down with my morning cup of uncool coffee to read your blog. Tortilla-pan fusion and dregs of chips in face are definitely my “bag”! (Pardon the expression.)
    Add jammed up drink ice in face and the ugly picture is complete.
    Maz

    • Lisa Smith Molinari March 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm Reply

      Maz — Can’t believe you are so much a part of the blogosphere that you are using terms like “LOL??” Took me quite a while to figure out what that meant, so I am impressed! Thanks for being a loyal reader . . . not like you are biased or anything! PS. Did you check the Topics Coming Soon? See the title, “Scared as Hell” — no offense intended, really!!

  12. Julie the Army Wife March 3, 2010 at 11:52 am Reply

    I just found your blog! We are just wrapping up 4 years in Germany and I can totally relate to your post 🙂

    • Lisa Smith Molinari March 4, 2010 at 7:22 am Reply

      Thanks for reading, Julie — please spread the word to your military spouse friends. I have some article coming soon about making friends when you first get stationed somewhere new that military spouses will be able to relate to!

  13. Amy February 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm Reply

    Hey Lisa, I love your blog!

    Your home sounds a lot like mine. The theme of my house is perhaps “junkyard eclectic”, and no one seems to know what to say about it. But, no worries. I love my junk, because it makes me happy, too, and because you can’t buy any of it at any ONE STORE! Hooray!

    PS. And, I think I laughed out loud at the “sticking a blade of grass up your nose to make you sneeze” part, because, I WAS THERE!! I (now) remember doing this, over and over with you, Jen and Rochelle. This and other weird things, like making ourselves, “pass out” or talking on the CB in your garage in the middle of the night. Do you remember that??

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 26, 2010 at 8:54 pm Reply

      Amy, yeah, I remember the CB nights, but it brings back bad memories because I got busted for giving out the neighbor’s phone number to some truck driver! We had some really dumb handles too, like Pepsi and Kentucky Woman. Stay tuned for my article coming up in about a week, called Modern Inconveniences – Part III: I want my goodie bag!” because it has more memories from Indiana, PA.

  14. Heidi February 26, 2010 at 3:35 am Reply

    Lisa as I read this – my maltipoo is eating a $30 shinguard under the kitchen table, near the chairs with the maltipoo teeth marks. I have been up out of my chair multiple times getting him out of the garbage, taking away the socks, t-shirts and underwear he pulled out of the laundry basket. If you are interested in crotchless panties – bring home my maltipoo as it is a daily occurence that he is pulling something out of the dirty basket, dragging it into the kitchen and chewing big dog holes in it.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 26, 2010 at 11:19 am Reply

      Heidi, you’re killin me! Can I hire you as my ghost writer? Too funny!

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