Sunday, December 27, 2009

Whitman Chocolate Samplers -- Mimi's yearly Christmas gift

My grandparents were not wealthy people. Mimi's husband -- Cecil, my grandfather -- worked his entire professional life as a telephone linesman. I can't hear Glenn Campbell's song "Lineman for the County" without thinking of Cecil.

Mimi could have worked as she had a college degree and she was a highly intelligent woman. I am sure if Mimi had not literally lost her mind to schizophrenia, she would have been a very good teacher. I will never forget having a conversation with my brother in our family kitchen when we were teens. We had just seen Warren Beatty's movie "Reds" and Mimi startled us both by adding a lot of correct historical information about the Russian Revolution. It startled us because she was so terrified of communists, yet she calmly explained Russian history to us that morning and for many years, we did not know she was quite insane.

Mimi and Cecil liked their routines, even if some of Mimi's were, well, crazy. Each and every year they gave me and my siblings small boxes of Whitman Samplers chocolate. They were meticulously wrapped and we knew what they were before we even opened the small boxes.

I find it sweet that they bought these small tokens for us. I find it terribly sad though that the dairy in the milk chocolate most likely made me sick, and probably my siblings as well.

Once you know you have an abnormal reaction to something as ever present as dairy or gluten, you learn to treat everything you want to eat with a degree of suspicion.

It is telling that the very foods my grandmother Mimi loved the most were the very ones that inflamed her body and her mind. And she innocently gave us a small Christmas gift every year that did the same to our bodies . . .
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