Where’s the beef?: Vegetarians are met with suspicion at the table

Kathy Hedberg

I just wonder how many people have to go back to the store two, three, maybe four, five times to restock on Halloween candy before the day arrives because they’ve eaten all they bought the first time around.

I know I’ve seen my neighbor, Hermoine, in the store lately picking up extra bags of candy.

“What up, Hermoine?” I say sarcastically. “No self-control?”

She shoots daggers in my direction.

“And what are you doing here, missy?” she responds snidely.

OK, I’ll admit. I’ve already gone through a bag of chocolate minis, well, maybe two bags, and have had to go back to the store for more. I knew I shouldn’t have bought them right after Labor Day, but they were on sale, so it just seemed to make sense at the time — my favorite candy bars that I never, almost never, OK, well, occasionally never buy for myself.

While guilt sticks to you like summer sweat if you indulge in adolescent treats during any other time of the year, it somehow seems justified — even righteous — if you buy candy to give away at Halloween. You can think that you are helping some other child have the kind of joy you experienced as a youth when you emptied your grocery bag of Halloween candy on your bedroom floor after a night of trick-or-treating and sorted them out, from the chocolate keepsies you’d hide in your underwear drawer to disgusting peanut butter taffy you’d probably give away to your kid sister or your dad.

And then how shocking it was when you returned home from school one afternoon and discovered somebody — no doubt that bratty kid sister — had discovered your stash in your underwear drawer and stolen all the goods.

Oh, how you wanted to pound her. Unfortunately, you had been studying Ghandi in your social studies class and made a pledge to nonviolence, and if you wanted the extra credit you had to keep your word. Rotten timing, but you let it go for the time being.

And, then, how even more shocking, 50 years later, when your 83-year-old mother confessed it was she who’d swiped your Halloween candy from your underwear drawer? Why you hadn’t suspected her all along — who else gets into your underwear drawer? But she was your mom — who could imagine she’d be a petty thief?

So perhaps it’s not so bizarre that now you yourself have gobbled three bags of candy before Halloween even gets here. There’s trauma involved, and apparently it’s in the genes.

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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