This is the very last day of my eleventh straight month doing this and I can unequivocally say that June has been the hardest month to celebrate. While my life got a bit more complicated this month which made celebrating a little harder, it was actually the month itself that made it most difficult. It has had it’s share of holidays for sure, but it has had too many days that were hard to actually celebrate. Like today for instance. It was Social Media Day and Meteor Watch Day. Both days deserving of celebration, but hard to do with any gusto, at least in my world. Plus last night was rainy, so meteors wouldn’t be visible and I couldn’t post about them on Facebook. My fallback plan on these days is always to celebrate one of the events that are being celebrated all month long. I’ve had to go to that well five times this month – that’s about 17% of all the holidays in June. That’s not a good run for holidays in one month. That’s why it’s been difficult and I’m glad it’s coming to an end.
After much consideration, I decided to celebrate the fact that it was National Candy Month. That seemed like a pretty fun one to get behind and the possibilities seemed pretty plentiful. My issue was trying to narrow down my options. I was having a tough day today. I think I was just tired but it was one of those days where everything seems to weigh you down a bit more than usual. It was just hard to get motivated, especially after a long week. I didn’t have much flame in my celebration fire. Candy seemed like a good way to put some joy into the day without too much effort. Nonetheless, I wanted to make my celebration in some kind of way that made it special. Just hearing about me eating a Watchamacallit bar isn’t all that exciting so I needed a way to give the day some panache. After some thought and with Lola’s suggestions, I found two ways that I could celebrate candy in a special way.
The first way was to trumpet the joy of the candy was to take part in the treats that we get from the mom of one of Lola’s close friends, Jess. Jess was Lola’s roommate up in New Hampshire when she first moved to those parts, Lola was all alone up there and only knew less than a handful of people. Jess took her in as a roommate and a great friendship was formed from that kind gesture. Jess lives in Austin, TX now but occasionally comes back to visit her family which is why she was home earlier this week and and why Lola went up to the Granite State to visit her. Besides being a great person, Jess has a mom, a great person in her own right, who makes the most delightful candy treats. She makes fudge, chocolate covered marshmallows, cookies and all kinds of neat creations. Whenever Lola visits her, she sends Lola home with a plate of these very special treats. They are always on a paper plate wrapped carefully in plastic wrap (a nice touch so we don’t have to worry about getting dishes back to her) and when Lola walks in with them, it’s a magic moment. It’s like opening that candy box when you have so many choices and you want to have a taste of everything. And we try to. It’s a definite celebration – the joy of being gifted with a special something. The fact that they are among the best you have ever had is the cherry on top.
That’s where we started. I was hemming and hawing about how to celebrate and Lola just pulled out the plate of treats. It was the perfect solution in the moment, especially because I was hungry too. This plate was mostly made up of chocolate covered marshmallows. They are the little marshmallows and they are all covered in a delightful chocolate candy. It’s more in the from of a cookie so the chocolate is spread out and dotted with marshmallows. It reminded me of a treat we used to enjoy called stain-glassed windows which was essentially chelate and marshmallows rolled into a loaf and then sliced, but these were better. It was the chocolate. It’s just perfect sweetness. The thrill of Jarvis Treats are one of the lucky side-benefits of being friends with Jess. Jess’ mom never lets Lola leave without a plate of treats. It’s a moment of magic every time you lift up that plastic wrap to take a look at what is underneath. That’s the joy of candy and the perfect way to celebrate today (and to celebrate the sweetness of Jess and her mom).
I still had to put a little more into celebrating candy. As adults, we lose sight of the joy of candy coming into our lives. When you have the ability to just buy candy at every store, it’s not such a big deal. But when you were a kid and the rush of getting candy or even being able to buy it yourself on occasion presented itself, that’s what the joy of candy was all about. It went beyond the sweet tastes and joy. It was the thrill of the hunt. Feasting on the forbidden fruit as a special treat. I wanted to tap into that feeling.
About ten years ago, we had some books that were in our house but were not ones we were ever going to read. In a moment of boredom or perhaps misguided crafting, I took one book and a knife and I cut a hole on the inside. I trimmed out a little square from all the pages so I essentially made a secret hiding spot. I hate to say I desecrated a book like this, but it was a book that was hanging around catching dust. Idle hands are the work of the devil. In any case, inspired no doubt by a prison escape movie, I turned the book into my new secret hiding spot. Then I put a candy bar inside and put it back in the shelf. I think it was a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Lola was none the wiser.
A few weeks later, we were having one of those nights sitting on our couch and watching a movie and Lola had a sweet craving. We had nothing in the house to meet that craving, at least as far as she knew. So I told her to go get me a book. The title of the book was “Exclusive” by Sandra Brown and the name is boldly written down the spine of the book. Lola was kind of annoyed that I wanted a book at this moment, so it took some egging her on, but she eventually grabbed it. I told her to peak inside. That’s when the joy came across her face. She was as much excited about the candy as she was about the joy of finding our new secret spot. It made the candy taste that much better. So since then, I have tried to very subtly keep that book stocked with surprises. We forget about it from time to time, but then we remember and get to enjoy the treasure. The book sits in our kitchen amidst our cookbooks and whenever I see it, I get a little grin on my face for having created this.
I had forgotten about it today too. We were in our kitchen trying to decided how we could have some candy but in some way that it was special. That’s when we remembered about our “Exclusive”. I knew there was candy in there, I just didn’t remember what kind. It was really going to be a surprise. We picked up the book and lay it down on the table, and then opened it slowly like Goonies in search of treasure. We found some.
When it opened up, I remembered putting the candy in there. They were special candies too – ones that are not always available. Cadbury Mini Eggs are only available around Easter (well, months before that actually) and the Reese’s football come around Super Bowl time. The Mini Eggs are Lola’s faves and they often make an appearance in “Exclusive.” I was worried they would get melty – that’s one of the things you have to worry about this time of year. But they seemed ok. We busted them open after dinner as we were watching our new favorite show on Netflix, GLOW (which is really awesome). They weren’t the freshest. They were a bit warm. But they were a special kind of tasty. They came from our secret stash that only Lola and I know about. It was that joy of candy surprise that we had been looking for – the same joy you get from candy as a kid. It wasn’t just the having, it was the getting.
I made it through June and now I am looking at the last month of this quest. Only 31 days to go. I head into it after surviving a pretty hectic month that wasn’t very cooperative with my efforts. It has been the hardest month of this year-long quest and it has made me feel that the forces of the holiday gods are trying to work against me. They don’t want me to succeed. Still, I’ll persist. I can do this. I have the momentum going. I have Lola in my corner. And I enter the last month with a sweet little finish to June. I discovered the youthful joy of candy in a way that I was already celebrating. I guess I started today’s celebration on that fateful day when I made my first cut into the pages. I just have to remember that celebration is all around us. Every day should bring that same joy that we felt when we get candy as a kid. That’s going to be what I strive for over the next 31 days – to experience joy. I just need to remember to restock my “Exclusive”.
Next Up: National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day