Sometimes parents don’t want to let go of the idea of their children as kids. For example, even after my older sister, Vicki, and I had moved away from home, my mother continued to buy us marshmallow Peeps® every Easter.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Marshmallow candies produced in the shape of chicks and coated with yellow sugar that appear every March to fill the Easter baskets of gentile children. Peeps® are, actually, made with marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax, and sold in packages of four.
When I was a child, I had no problem ingesting fowl-shaped globs of sugar; as an adult, it’s a different story. Just seeing a Peep® makes me cringe and crave a glass of water, milk, or coffee to drive the sickly sweet taste from my mouth.
I would gladly force myself to eat one Peep® per year for my mother and nostalgia’s sake; however, Mom typically bought my sister and me one package for each. It sounds harmless enough, but try to eat all four Peeps® without becoming an instant diabetic.
One Easter morning, the preacher reminded me that Jesus said, let’s share. I attempted to give my remaining Peeps® away, but others responded in horror, as if I offered them crystal meth, shaking their hands to ward off the evil and scurrying away, backwards.
I tried to be resourceful and find practical uses for my Peeps®. I dissolved one in coffee, but it made the pot too sweet and I had to pour it out. The peanut butter & Peep® sandwich didn’t fare much better, and I won’t even tell you about how the chips & Peep® dip turned out. Let me just say, salty & sweet don’t always “dance” together.
Vicki and I tried hinting to my mother that she didn’t need to buy us Peeps® any longer.
““I’m on a diet,” Vicki said.
““Just eat one a day,” Mom replied.
““Did you hear that Peeps® are made by Satanists?” I asked.
““No one’s perfect,” Mom said.
I still remember smiling to the point of paralysis after my mother gave Vicki and me our packages of Peeps® last Easter.
““What are you going to do with yours?” I asked out of the corner of my mouth.
““I don’t know,” Vicki said. “I thought about giving them to some kids in the neighborhood, but I don’t think I can do that in good conscience. Their parents might call DFCS. What are you going to do with yours?”
““I suppose I could shellac them and use them as paperweights.”
““Tom and I are going to see Van Halen next week,” she said. “Maybe I can use them as earplugs.”
““I considered using one as a hood ornament, but I’m afraid the Peeps® will take the paint off my car.”
““I called the exterminator a few months ago to remove a dead rat I found in the garage. Turns out, it was a Peep® that had been coated with dust.”
I sighed. “We can’t keep this up. We need to say something to her.”
““Don’t look at me,” she said. “I’m afraid of what she might do.”
““No, to me!”
““Okay, fine. I’ll do it.” I walked over to my mother and said, “Mom, Vicki and I don’t want you to buy us Peeps®, anymore.”
““What? But you kids love Peeps®!” Mom exclaimed.
““We did–when we were kids, but we’re adults now,” I said. “They’re just so sweet.”
““Yeah, they’re kind of sickening, aren’t they?”
““Well, yeah …”
““What am I going to do with all of these Peeps®, though?” My mother asked.
““What do you mean?”
Mom led me to the pantry where she had stashed packages of Peeps® from floor to ceiling. “What are you doing with all of these Peeps®?” I asked.
““H.E.B. had a sale on them in 1978 and I bought them in bulk to save,” she said.
““Wait a minute!” I said. “Do you mean to tell me you’ve been giving us Peeps® that are a quarter of a century old?”
Mom shrugged. “What’s the problem? Peeps® never go bad. You know, they say that after the nuclear holocaust, only cockroaches and Peep® left.”
I shuddered at the thought, but took solace in the fact I’d never have to eat another Peep® again.
How do you feel about Peeps®?