I looked at the candy in the grocery store and waged an internal debate with myself between love of Halloween and the perils of sugar. I like handing out candy. I lived for Halloween when I was a sugar-deprived child. Today's kids get sweets all the time. They don't appreciate it. At the rate we're going, 1 out of 3 of them are going to end up with diabetes, partly because they eat so much processed food with sugar hidden inside.
Kids should have fun. I picked up the candy. I don't want to be responsible for fat, diabetic children. I put the candy back. I started pushing my cart forward, but not very fast. I looked back at the candy and heard myself whimpering inside. I thought about the leftover candy I'd get to eat and started pushing the cart away in earnest. I don't want diabetes either.
It sucks to think about such things. I love sugar. I want leftover candy. I long for cakes and pies and cookies. I'm still whimpering inside a bit.
I don't want to come across as holier than thou about dietary health. I'm not as fit as I should be. I indulge in sloth and brownies, partly in continued defiance of my health freak parents. As a child, I sulked in envy as I watched my peers eating Wonder bread sandwiches with chips and Coke. Their peanut butter had magical preservatives and other mysterious qualities that didn't require strenuous stirring before spreading, and the luckiest kids got peanut butter with stripes of jelly already in the jar.
The peanut butter currently in my cupboard requires stirring. I pair it with unsweetened, homemade apple butter because I like it better than jelly. When I finally got a chance to eat Wonder bread, I choked on its unnatural cotton texture. I see the irony. Maybe we just can't escape our early training?
But, my early training also included my grandparents' unrestricted candy dish. Grandma was always good for desserts, pancakes with syrup, and sprinklings of sugar on tomatoes. Grandpa kept Vernor's ginger ale in the basement and a large container of vanilla ice cream in the freezer. My uncle had huge metal tins of Army surplus candy. I loved all of them, and sticky sweetness and sugar comas were part of the love.
I could give out apples at Halloween, but I remember my feelings when the neighbors down the street gave apples. Don't get me wrong, they were really nice apples, but apples in an orchard community aren't all that special. I didn't complain when Dad confiscated them with warnings about razor blades hidden inside. I honestly thought Dad made that up as justification for inspecting and confiscating Halloween candy, but then the news reported on it. How sick do you have to be to tamper with children's candy?
I have 10 days as of this writing to argue with myself about buying kids candy this year. Sadly, I will argue with myself about it up till the 31st. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one having this internal dialogue. Maybe I should make caramel apples?
This apple is another bit of the painting I've been working on. After such a long period of avoidance, I've come to love working on it. I think I'll also love it when it's finally finished!