It was just a regular-sized bag of M&M’s with peanuts and not guilt-ridden contraband. I told my husband I bought them and intended to eat them because I like them, and a small bag now and then is not a crime against my body or humanity.
He was all for that.
After pouring the bag’s contents onto a napkin made out of a paper towel, I started the preliminaries – I sorted the bright pile into little piles by color.
Then I carefully considered them before deciding which group to eat first. This has been my M&M’s ritual for as long as I can remember. And I’m not the only one.
There was this day probably thirty years ago (maybe more) when Mama and I were having coffee at my kitchen table, and she wished for some chocolate, and all I had were two regular-sized bags of regular M&M’s from the treats I’d bought for kids trick or treating. (In the country, the brave kids that came to our door got a little extra for the effort.)
After carefully organizing my bits of candy-coated chocolate, I looked up to find her looking at my napkin and then looking down at hers.
I grinned at her. “So that’s where I get it.”
She nodded still a little surprised by our similar habit.
Not able to disguise my delight I kept talking. “Do you think this is a genetic thing? Or did I pick it up from you somewhere along the way of life? I like it that we both do this. Which pile are you going to eat first?”
Her look was one I knew well – a mix of sarcastic amusement with a little eye thing she did so well. “Well, Joy, I’m not sure. Which color are you going to eat first?”
This was the opening I’d been hoping for! Of course, she knew that, and I think she was counting on me to respond with my normal gladness. She knew me.
“Well, it depends. Sometimes I eat the color with the least number of candies and work my way up to the one with the most. Now and then I eat the color with the most first. Other times I eat the color I like the least that day. For example, there are days when the brown ones are my first choice and other days they are my least favorite. It’s all about my mood I guess. I used to get so ticked off at the old commercials that said they melt in your mouth, not in your hand. They always melted in my hot little hands. It seemed like false advertising to me. What do you think?”
The eye thing seemed to be locked in place on her beautiful face. So was the smirk where she kept the words she was thinking to herself. Finally, she got up and walked to my very first microwave. “I need my coffee reheated.”
That sounded good because coffee melted chocolate is the best. I learned that from Mama too. And being like her was such a satisfying feeling.
We sat back down across the table from each other and as we ate and drank in silence, both of us watched the birds at the feeders outside and did our best not to look at each other’s candies.
Relief washed over both of us when our treat was gone. I know this because I let out a sigh that would have blown out a candle across the room. Mama laughed, patted my hand, and said, “Like mother, like daughter.”
I loved her more at that moment. Because she got me and accepted me, and she sounded kind of proud when she said we were alike.
We laughed and drank another cup of coffee.
I don’t know if we ever ate M&M’s together again. It was a little stressful revealing this organizational habit of ours to each other although probably more for her than me because I was on the giddy side of glad that day. Because as much alike as she and I were, we were also very different. She tucked many things into her heart and kept them there. I tend to share whatever is on my heart.
As I write this, I wonder if there’s a name for this candy sorting thing with a bunch of symptoms, a list of meds to take, and doctors to contact, but I’m not going to look it up on Google.
I like sorting the colorful candy-coated chocolate drips into color-coded deliciousness.
Just in case you’re wondering, today I ate the red one first just because savoring that lonely M&M with the first hottest sip of my coffee seemed like the right thing to do.
Until Next Time,
P. S. I’m old enough to remember the M&M man, are you?