The Candy Bowl recently carried an article which rated eight name-brand candies according to how they impact our health. Only one of them is in our candy bowl, so the information wasn’t devastating. A last place finish for Snickers, however, is rather troubling.

On our kitchen counter is a lovely wooden bowl that was hand carved by Matt Stephens, a former pastor at Vienna First Baptist Church. Filled with a variety of bite-size sweets, Snickers is well represented. I should disclose, however, that dark chocolate Dove requires the most restocking. Several years ago, Jane read that moderate consumption of dark chocolate has been credited with minor health benefits. If benefits are proportionate to consumption, I’m in the best shape of my life.          

Much to my chagrin, the author noted that potential advantages of dark chocolate are adversely affected by significant sugar content. I tend to disagree based on reverse analysis. I’ve had unsweetened chocolate. The taste was bitter and I felt no better. Maybe I should have swallowed.

Snickers apparently provide major health benefits. It was the official snack of the 1984 Olympics in which our country won a record 83 gold medals. Perhaps athletes need a little sugar in their fuel to reach the top spot on the podium. When peanuts, chocolate, and caramel merge, good things happen.

My affinity for Snickers began in childhood at Joiner’s Store. Uncle Emmet kept several choices of candy bars in a glass case on the left-hand side as you walked in. Snickers was my preference with an occasional Milky Way or Baby Ruth for nutritional balance. Since I was family, I could wait on myself. For most customers my uncle would slide open one of the little wooden doors on the back, get the candy out, then ring up the sale, which usually included an ice-cold drink in a glass bottle like God intended.

The store didn’t have air conditioning, just a big fan on a sturdy metal pole that stirred the warm air of summer. Hot weather is when we had to be careful. If candy stayed in the case too long, little white worms would appear. I used to wonder how they got through the wrappers. In summertime, I’d break my candy bars in half to make sure nothing was moving, then check again after taking a bite.

At some point it occurred to me there could be worms which were too tiny to wiggle. So, in July and August, I was mostly a Moon Pie man. Two options were displayed on a rack straight in front as you as you walked in. I rotated between vanilla, to compliment my personality, and chocolate for when I felt adventuresome.

Behind the Moon Pies was the bread rack. Little Miss Sunbeam was quite convincing when she held up a slice of bread and said, “Look Ma, no holes.” Then came the catchy jingle, “There’re no holes in Sunbeam bread.” At home I’d sometimes check to see if the inspectors remained diligent. I don’t remember ever finding any holes, and reporting them to the breadman didn’t seem like a good idea, so I gradually stopped looking.      

Honeybuns were on the bread rack and were one of my regular treats. Thinking about them now makes me wish I had one stashed in the kitchen.  I’m talking about the original size, not one of those two-bite mini-buns that won’t fill up a chihuahua.    

A long counter on the right side of the store had a big glass jar filled with cookies. They were a penny each until inflation hit. Uncle Emmet got the cookies out of the jar for his customers. He’d drop them into a little brown paper bag and roll the top down. There wasn’t any handwashing involved, no tongs or rubber gloves. Cookie germs, it seems, are rarely fatal.  

Uncle Emmett only carried one snack that I didn’t care for, which was Stage Planks. Jerry Clower, the late comedian, told a story about a fellow enjoying Stage Planks topped with sardines at a country store. Like the man observing him said, “Bully done flung a craving on me.” I satisfied my curiosity one afternoon by having that same combination sitting on the porch of Joiner’s Store. My position since then is that ginger flavored cookies with pink icing don’t pair well with oily fish.

The recent report about Snickers won’t affect our candy bowl. We’ll keep filling it with a few of our favorites. Contrary to some research, mine clearly indicates there are advantages to consuming the sweets we enjoy most. That must be right, because every time I eat a Snickers or a Dove dark chocolate, I always feel a little bit better.

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6 Responses to The Candy Bowl

  1. Judy says:

    This article floods my mind with sweet memories of my mom and dad’s country store. I had forgotten about the penny wheel cookies and stage planks. I wish I could go back for one day to those days of yesteryear.


  2. vernon twitty says:

    Amen, brother, on your last paragraph. Though it is sometimes done in moderation because of blood sugar issues, your favorite continues to be mine as well! Continued happy snacking!


  3. gwjohnsondurdenbccom says:

    You made me laugh and that is a good thing. I too had an uncle with a country store in CANOOCHEE where I had family privileges. It brings back great memories.


  4. Dewel says:

    Sorry Payday not mentioned. An obvious (and grievous) oversight.


  5. Michael Chason says:

    Brings back a lot of great memories. Well done!!

    Sent from Mail for Windows


  6. Trav Carter says:

    Got me thinking about how we would take a honeybun and put it in a pan of butter and fry it and smash it until is really thin and crispy. Ummm!


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