…there’s something religious about peppermints, don’t you think? (from Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery)
This one brought back a tsunami of memories from the Baptist churches of my childhood. It seems that, in every church I ever attended (and I’ve been in a fair few), there was a kindly old man or woman who passed out peppermints to the children. At the church in Sweetwater, TX where I occasionally visited my grandparents, it was a man with a hearing aid who passed the red and white candies off in your palm whenever you shook his hand. The Island Baptist Church in South Padre Island, where we spent our vacation Sundays, boasted more than a few ladies with peppermint scented purses. And in the church I called home, my Mee Mee did me one better with the Werthers Original candies she always had on hand. I remember opening them so slowly, agonizing over every crinkly sound, trying not to disturb the sermon. I remember opening them quickly, not worrying about the sound if the choir was singing loudly enough. The click of sweet hard candy against my teeth as I pushed it from one cheek to the other. The way I could taste it before I even touched it, just from seeing the gold foil of a Werthers, or the red and white of a peppermint. I even remember occasionally having to pull a tiny piece of pocket lint from the end of the wrapper before opening, courtesy of a starched blue jean pocket that carried the candy to church just for me. (Incidentally, do men outside of Texas wear starched blue jeans and cowboy boots to church?) Well, there are just so many memories. Peppermints (and Werthers) are just religious in a way, aren’t they?