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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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cider

Halloween

I grew up in a one-block town. Literally! There was one block, and a few houses that extended off each street. As a youngster in the early ’60’s when planning a costume for Halloween you had to pick one of three goals: not be recognizable; be the most unusual; or the most outlandish.  There were many houses in town that the lady had to figure out who you were before you got your candy. Sometimes it could be a slow process. It was fun if you could stump them. No one wore just a mask! My favorite house gave out homemade caramel popcorn balls (Nice big ones.) Another house wanted us to come inside for cider and doughnuts. We went there last.

Back then the full size candy bars of today only cost five cents. We got a lot of them; they didn’t have to be checked before we ate them and parents didn’t go with their kids.  My father had an antique business in the ’70’s and ’80’s in that same little town. He gave out huge candy bars.  The Hershey bars that were 4 inches by 8 inches!  He called them his security system. He never locked the doors of the big house turned shop.  Occasionally he would hear of some shenanigans in town and chuckle that his house was never touched because the “Kids” would protect it from others.

My mother had a friend that lived out in the country, so she would come to our house to see the trick-or-treaters.  She purposely parked her car where the windows would get soaped saying it needed to be washed at least once a year.  Then it got waxed.  She parked it out back in our barn after that.

We would often have about 100 trick-or-treaters and it was a fun evening we planned and looked forward to for weeks. There was a Halloween parade in school, and carved pumpkins on most steps.  Now I live in suburbia and my street has no sidewalks or streetlights.  The most visitors we have ever had for Halloween is nine.  It’s a good thing I have good memories.

Double Bubble and Baseball

Today is National Mulled Cider Day.  I had intended to write about that yummy, refreshing cider that you simmer on the stove with orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and any other spice of your choice to fill the house with scents of fall and then enjoy the hot spicy flavor as it trickles down your throat, maybe accompanied by a fried cake doughnut, but Chewing Gum has much more interesting facts.

When I was a kid we had to choose between Double Bubble or Bazooka if we wanted a chewing gum to make big bubbles with.  I have a lot of hot air,  I was good at big bubbles.  Used to drive my mother nuts.  “If you are going to chew gum, KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED!” I’ve become her, there is nothing more irritating to me than someone chewing gum with their mouth open and cracking it with every chew.  If I owned a retail store or a sports team, my employees would not be allowed to chew gum while on camera or while taking care of a customer.  In the dugout, or on the bench would be allowable.  According to the following facts, chewing gum is a stress reliever.  I’ll accept that, my rules would stay the same.

Various forms of chewing gum have existed since the Neolithic period. In 2007, a British archeology student discovered a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum which was made from bark tar with tooth imprints in it. Presumed to be the oldest piece of chewing gum, it was found in Kierikki, Yli-li, Finland.  Made from bark tar, the gum was believed to have antiseptic properties and other medicinal advantages.

  • Many other cultures chewed gum made from the resin of the mastic tree, from plants, grasses, and other resins.
  • In 1848, John B. Curtis developed and sold the first commercial chewing gum which was called “The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”.
  • Around 1850, a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and surpassed the spruce gum in popularity.
  • December 28, 1869, William Semple filed an early patent on chewing gum, patent number 98,304.
  • Studies show chewing gum helps improve memory, reduce stress and increase alertness.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum improves overall oral hygiene while also helping to curb cravings and improving digestion.

Do you know if you ever get lost in the woods and are thirsty or need to freshen your mouth you can take a wad of pine pitch off a pine tree and chew it.  If you happen to swallow it, it will pass through like other things do.  The myth that gum stays in your intestines is not true.  Have a colonoscopy and you can verify that.

Back to baseball.  There are less than five games left of the regular season, then the playoffs, and finally the World Series.  If you notice when they show the dugouts, where the teams sit for you non sports people, there are plastic buckets of  Bubble Yum.  The players seem to always be chewing on something.  I have even seen them popping a big bubble all over their face and trying to get the gum off before their next at-bat.  Keep in mind, they are mostly between the age of 20 and 40. (How they chew those sunflower seeds and spit the shells, I haven’t mastered.)

I should also mention Black Jack, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, Dentyne, Big Red and Teaberry gum.  You have to be my age to remember some of those.  They weren’t good for blowing bubbles, and they lost their “flavor on the bedpost overnight”.

Afterthought….my husband’s favorite baseball team clinched their division.  He’s now rooting for best record.  Then we’ll move on to football coaches chewing their cud!

 

 

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