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Hoping for a visit from Cupid this year

By Sherry Hopkins

Community Columnist

Welcome to Wednesday! I am glad to be here. I am sad that readership is down and that small town papers such as ours have had to cut many corners to still be able to publish, if only once a week.

I am glad, however, that we still have a hometown paper. Local news is important. Local advertising is important. So keep purchasing your subscriptions, keep reading and hang in there.

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away. This man made holiday has never interested me much. Growing up the big three (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) were always a big deal.

My parents got into those days. Mostly my Mama. She did all the cooking for Thanksgiving, all the encouraging and helping with costumes and collection bags on Halloween and all the shopping for Santa and Christmas gifts.

My Daddy was only slightly more than an interested bystander. There could have been some behind the scenes discussions, but Mama ran the house.

So Valentine’s Day was not totally overlooked. Mama would buy the necessary cards that we would hand out to our classmates at school. She would also buy the small heart shaped red box from Whitman’s candies that held five pieces of chocolate. This would be given to each of the three of us kids at supper time.

This surprise each year was always attributed to Daddy. As if Daddy had gone to the corner drug store and bought with his own secret stash of money, three boxes of candy.

Daddy did not. Mama was the secret Cupid. I never remember Mama getting a Valentine gift of her own, although she very well could have. I don’t think she cared.

We were always thrilled to have our own box of chocolates. We were certainly not spoiled children that had every whim met. Rarely did candy reach us outside of a holiday. Neither did we have sweets hidden anywhere or soft drinks either.

Kool-aid was always in the icebox and if Mama wanted the colorful drink to last longer than a day she would make lime or orange because we didn’t like those flavors. She could pinch a penny. I am sure Daddy appreciated that about Mama.

Daddy carried ink pens and Juicy fruit gum in his work shirt pocket. He was never without either. That may have been the only thing that he ever bought on his own for himself.

But, he had a tremendous sweet tooth. Mama worked downtown and about once a month or so she would visit a wholesale candy house that sold to the public on occasions.

She bought big plastic bins of Banana Bites, miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s miniature chocolates with the dark chocolate being his very favorite.

She kept all of this candy in the top of their bedroom closet behind boxes of shoes, handbags and overnight suitcases. One had to do some good spy work to find them. I was the one. I was the one unafraid to stand on the kitchen chair and rumble through their belongings in a room that was, for the most part, off limits to the kids.

But candy had a powerful draw and I could not resist. I love candy to this day and many of my favorites are the same as my Daddy’s.

I miss the little box we got each year. I miss the looks between my parents as the boxes were presented as being from Daddy.  A lot was attributed to Mama back then. Daddy was the breadwinner. She didn’t require much else from him.

I am sure too that Daddy appreciated that about my Mama. She kept a spotless house and had supper ready at 5:30 each evening and he worked and took care of the yard.

It all seemed to work in harmony in our little house in our little neighborhood. We didn’t seem too far different from any other family.

All this talk about chocolate has made me want some in a fierce way. I’m hoping maybe Cupid finds his way here by Friday.

Happy Valentine’s Day and stay tuned.

You can reach Sherry at swhcsc@wildblue.net or 662.563.2525