It happened every Christmas. A certain special tin
Arrived in Grandma’s glove-ed hands; creating quite a din.
This tin bore handmade chocolates; chocolates filled with creams:
Spearmint, orange, maple, the stuff of children’s dreams.
But, too, that tin held flavors for which I had no taste:
Cherry, almond, lemon: Oh what a great, great waste.
But how to tell the difference? Oh, how was I to know
If that chocolate hid a treasure or a cherry chunk below?
“To the freezer,” Mother said, as she pointed to the stair.
“Let’s make them last! Let’s savor them! Forget about them there!”
But minds of children worry over chocolates in the dark.
And children sneaked down basement stairs; on a quest we would embark.
Again we faced the trouble of what those chocolate held.
But one of us had certain gifts at which she well-excelled:
“Stab it,” she informed us. “Just poke it with your thumb.”
“And peek inside, and you decide: but mind me: do keep mum.”
So I flipped that candy over, and stared right up inside
If it was mint, I ate it; Cherry, I would hide.
I’d hide it at the bottom; the bottom of that tin.
Because I knew if Mom found out, there’d be a mighty din.
Many days passed in this way, this sneaking down the stair
To find a certain flavor in the dark and musty air.
And then one day my father, he asked us for the tin.
We went downstairs and brought it out, and yes, there was that din.
“Who stabbed at all these candies?” He stared down at the tin.
He stared down at the cherry creams lying there within.
He picked among those wounded creams all lying in a heap.
He picked around until he found lying in the deep
Recesses of wax paper. Yes, he found that which he sought.
He pushed aside the wounded, all stabbed and then forgot.
He’d found the greatest treasure! The best one of them all!
He’d found a homemade caramel! (I’d thought we’d got them all).
For caramels were a special treat, beloved by young and old.
For caramels were soft and sweet. They were like liquid gold.
But caramels were not discreet: They could not hide the truth:
A chocolate that refused to yield was most pleasing to the tooth.
And so it was we children were summoned to the place
Of Great-Great-Great Aunt Edna. The purpose was to face
Our crimes and our transgressions: We’d learn the proper way--
The proper way to dip and roll; We learned it all that day.
That day we ceased our stabbing at the hearts of those poor creams.
We’d take a chance and take a bite and hope we’d find our dreams.
And to this day ‘round Christmas time, we gather, siblings all.
We gather with our mother; and our children one and all.
We gather to make candies. We gather to share dreams.
We gather to make caramels. We don’t bother with the creams.
Because we know our children (we know ourselves as well).
Because we don’t want fingerprints upon the chocolate shell.