Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pink Peppermints

'Uncle Mark Miller' brought me from the station with his ancient buggy and what he calls his 'generous purpose' horse. He is a nice old man and gave me a handful of pink peppermints. Peppermints always seem to me such a religious sort of candy -- I suppose because when I was a little girl Grandmother Gordon always gave them to me in church. Once I asked, referring to the smell of peppermints, 'Is that the odor of sanctity?' I didn't like to eat Uncle Mark's peppermints because he just fished them loose out of his pocket, and had to pick some rusty nails and other things from among them before he gave them to me. But I wouldn't hurt his dear old feelings for anything, so I carefully sowed them along the road at intervals. When the last one was gone, Uncle Mark said, a little rebukingly, 'Ye shouldn't a'et all them candies to onct, Miss Phil. You'll likely have the stummick-ache.'
- from Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of the Island

The 'pink peppermint', or the English mint as it's sometimes called, is actually flavored with wintergreen. It was a favorite of mine and it seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth now.

I will forever associate them with my Grandpa Fitzpatrick (Mom's father, who she dearly loved...), and how he fed them to me...along with whisker rubs and sloppy kisses, calling me his 'little girl'...
"I'm so tired of gray worsted and sensible things. Of course I can't have a tree, an' I don't suppose I really want it; but I'd like somethin' all pretty an' sparkly an'--an' silly, you know. An' there's another thing I want--ice cream. An' I want to make myself sick eatin' it, too,--if I want to; an' I want little pink-an'-white sugar pep'mints hung in bags. Samuel, can't you see how pretty a bag o' pink pep'mints 'd be on that green tree? An'--dearie me!" broke off the little old woman breathlessly, falling back in her chair.

Ella was the first to speak. "It's too bad, of course, but never mind. Mother'll see the joke of it just as we do. You know she never seems to care what we give her. Old people don't have many wants, I fancy."

Frank stirred suddenly and walked the length of the room. Then he wheeled about.

"Do you know," he said, a little unsteadily, "I believe that's a mistake?"

"A mistake? What's a mistake?"

"The notion that old people don't have any--wants. See here. They're having a party down there--a party, and they must have got it up themselves. Such being the case, of course they had what they wanted for entertainment--and they aren't drinking tea or knitting socks. They're dancing jigs and eating pink peppermints and ice cream! Their eyes are like stars, and Mother's cheeks are like a girl's; and if you think I'm going to offer those spry young things a brown neckerchief and a pair of bed-slippers you're much mistaken--because I'm not!"
- From Eleanor H. Porter's When Father & Mother Rebelled

I found this link today on a Canadian site I will try. I am abound and determined to track them down...

I like that last quote quite a bit. I have always firmly believed that just because our bodies get infirm doesn't mean we suddenly don't want or need to have fun or have love. I plan on getting up to mischief as much as possible the older I get!