One of my strongest childhood memories is of my grandmother’s candy dish. It sat on a table in her living room between her couch and the front door. It was almost always filled with M&Ms. Sometimes they were peanut, usually they were plain, but any other candy would be sacrilege.
No trip to Grandma’s was complete without reaching into the candy dish for a little nibble.
When we were children my brother and my cousin and I would try to sneak into the candy dish as the grown-ups were usually in the kitchen or in the den. Of course this was no easy task as the candy dish has a lid with little tines that must be matched with the scalloped edges of the dish in order fit properly. This results in a sound being made every time the dish is closed. Ting.
“Who’s in the candy dish?” was always the call of my grandmother from the other room no matter how carefully you put that lid on. I am telling you after a lifetime of trying, it is almost impossible to put that lid on without making a sound.
Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, the call would be, “It’s empty,” as if you didn’t already see that cursing the fact that not only did you get caught trying to sneak candy but there was nothing to actually sneak.
The funny thing is my grandmother would always say yes if you asked her if you could have some candy. (Of course mom might say no.)
The candy dish was my great grandmother’s originally and my mother and her brother played the same candy sneaking game when they were kids.
When my grandmother came to live with my mother the last six years of her life of course the candy dish came too. It now sits on the bar of my mother’s sun room.
Yesterday I was at my mom’s house with Marley and my mom and I heard the familiar ting of the candy dish lid.
“Who’s in the candy dish,” my mother called though of course there could only be one answer.
“You know that candy dish is mine,” I told my mother. “I’m calling it right now.”
“Good luck,” she said. “Everyone wants that dish.”
“Well I only have to fight Richard and Carrie,” I said referring to my brother and my cousin. “And I’m the oldest.”
“Christine and Jason want it too,” she said referring to my step-sister and brother.
“No way. They’ve only been in the family 25 years and I’m older than them too.”
The funny thing is the dish does not go with the décor of my house at all. If I saw it at an antique store I wouldn’t give it a second glance. But I don’t care. The ting of the lid brings me back to my childhood every time I hear it.
Like the scent of someone’s cologne can take you back to that crush on your college professor or the smell of the air after it rains can bring you back splashing in puddles on the street you grew up, the sound of that candy dish brings me back to my grandparent’s home…
To spending hours going through my grandmother’s dresser drawers and walk-in closet to play with her costume jewelry and try on her silver high-heel shoes.
To fuzzing the top of my grandfather’s buzz-cut-head as he sat in his easy chair in his zippered jumpsuit lovingly calling me a pesty kid.
To my grandmother rolling across the kitchen floor to get something she left on the counter on her wheeled dinette chair rather than get up.
To my grandparents hugs. To my grandparents kisses.
Oh how I ache for more of their hugs and their kisses.
That candy dish is mine.
This piece originally appeared on skirt.com on March 7, 2011.