Trot, trot to Boston Town
To buy a stick of candy,
One for you and one for me
And one for Dicky Dandy.
We have a cabinet full of candy. Leftover Halloween candy, candy from birthday party goody bags, Christmas candy, even a chocolate Easter bunny. We have way too much candy in our house.
Buying candy was such a treat when I was growing up. My parents rarely let us eat candy unless we were on vacation. Every summer, we vacationed on the shores of Lake Huron with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Down the road from our cabins was a gas station and camp store. We just called it the “pink store.” My sister and I would beg Dad for some quarters and walk down to the pink store with our cousins. This was right around 1980, and we were all leggy kids with scraggly, 70’s style hair, short shorts, knee socks and tennis shoes. The younger cousins would stand around the candy aisle first and carefully select the most candy we could buy with our tightly gripped, slightly sweaty coins. Then we would head to the back of the store to watch the older cousins play pinball. We always bought candy cigarettes, pretending to smoke on the walk home. Look, Mom and Dad, we’re smoking! Our parents would laugh, and our gang would go to someone’s cabin to play cards. Are candy cigs still available? Probably not! My favorite candy back then was a vanilla Charleston Chew. You could bite it or freeze it and bang in against the table to break it into pieces.
In contrast, the only time Laura and Mary in the Little House books got candy was once a year, on Christmas!
I brought out my set of Little House books for my husband to read to our four year old daughter. She loves hearing stories from these books over and over again. I had great fun rereading the these books. (We read Little house in th Big Woods, Little House in the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek. Farmer Boy begins with the big boys wanting to beat the teacher, so we skipped that book, and the fifth By the Shores of Silver Lake had some story lines that I thought might be too mature for our four year old. We’ll come back to the series when she’s older.)
From my childhood readings, I distinctly remember the grasshoppers coming and destroying the crops, along with the vivid descriptions of how quickly a blizzard would blow in. One my of favorite stories was when Pa got caught in a blizzard walking home from town. He fell in a small hollow and was trapped in a cave of snow for days. This cave of snow saved him from freezing to death. He stayed alive by eating some of the Christmas treats he had bought in town, including the Christmas candy. When he finally arrived home, safe and sound, the snow cave being only yards from the house, Laura and Mary are so relieved that they do not mind not having their Christmas candy.
‘”Well,” Pa said, “we’ll have a big wheat crop next year, and you girls won’t have to wait till next Christmas for candy.”‘
At least Pa had not eaten the oysters, and there was oyster stew for Christmas dinner.
Discussing this book was fun for my husband and me. We are fascinated with how people used to live and the skills they needed to survived. On the Banks of Plum Creek is not just for children, but is fun for adults to revisit or read for the first time.