PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, December 30, 2005

Chocolate-Dipped Memories

My father had his hip replaced yesterday, and is doing well - as well as can be expected, anyway. My understanding is that the physical therapy for recovery is the worst part of the process. He's an irascible sumbitch, and has forbidden visitors, even sending his wife home last night. I understand it somewhat, because it's a bitch when you're not feeling well and everyone comes in and looks at you with this concerned face & you have to expend energy to reassure them (or as he views it, entertain them.) So we're going to wait until he's gone through the worst of his recovery before we go and visit, but of course, I wanted to send him something so he's reminded of how much he's loved & wished a speedy recovery.

First thought, flowers. I looked online at various arrangements, including plants and gift baskets, and then.... then..... the perfect notion came to me. Betty Jane's Candy. One quick google search, and I was ecstatic to discover they had a good website. I talked to my stepmother this morning & got all the medical updates, his room number, etc., and then three minutes after they opened, I was on the phone with a sweetheart of a candy store order-taker. There's something about how the accents change, gradually, as you move north through the Midwest, and I'm from northeastern Iowa, so while we don't "tube" our O's (think of the movie "Fargo") quite as much, when I talk to people from there, I'm just awash in the memory of sounds and speech patterns and as much as I wanted to leave home as a teen, the homesickness surfaces.

I end up telling this woman my life story (well, ok, just the part that relates to Betty Jane's Candies), of how my dad & I would always stop at the candy store on our way out of town (Dubuque is the closest "big" town, and would be the only place to get certain things). Our candy of choice was chocolate-covered orange peel. Milk and dark, mixed. (Holy crap. Just typing that caused a huge surge of saliva into my mouth. Hi, Pavlov, you rang?) Anyway, Dad would buy about ten pieces, and we'd savor them on the hour-ride back home. It truly was "our" thing, something we shared and was a bond, odd as that may seem. Of course, I tell the Betty Jane Lady all this, too. She was so diplomatic; she just said, "You know, that particular candy, it seems like one of those that you either really really love it, or you want nothing to do with it." Her way of saying, "Jennifer, I don't share the crazy love for the orange peel, nor am I telling you where I live." Anyway, I got him a pound of those, and then, since they deliver in-town for a nominal fee, I also got him a pound of chocolate covered nuts. We've never been much on the cream centers, because there's always that ONE you get that brings the candy-consuming experience to a screeching halt. I couldn't even tell you what ONE that is, usually for me it's something artificially fruity, like strawberry (yecccch), and I didn't want to mess with it.

I have no idea if candy helps the recuperation process more than flowers, but knowing my father, chocolate-covered orange peel will certainly help his spirits, and he will know his only child loves him beyond words, as expressed through the language of chocolate and memories.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:14 AM