By Margaret Kirby: Guest Columnist
I would like to thank a young lady — whose name I don’t know — from the Dora Baptist Church. She gave my 3-year-old daughter a candy cane at the Portales Christmas parade on Dec. 3.
I know that collecting a ton of candy is not what Christmas or parades are supposed to be about. And we are trying to teach our daughter that. But when you’re 3, it seems you tend to think about candy a lot. You also don’t ignore opportunities to get it.
Our daughter is shy. She doesn’t run to the edge of the street during parades to wait for candy like the bigger kids. But she know kids throw candy from the floats.
At the Dec. 3 parade, she was hoping to catch lollipops. And she came prepared to catch a lot of them. With mittens on, she clutched the handle on her candy bucket (a Winnie-the-Pooh pumpkin head bucket from Halloween).
Unfortunately, she wasn’t prepared for the loud sirens at the start of the parade. She heard them coming from blocks away and spent the first few minutes of the parade hiding behind our car. No candy.
When the sirens passed by, she came out. But the first big truck was an 18-wheeler. Its horn was even louder than the sirens. When she jumped at the sound, the pumpkin bucket went flying. She was back behind the car, this time covering her ears and crying.
But she did not want to get in the car or go home.
After being assured the loud noise was probably over, she came out again. She waved at the floats. A nice lady handed her a piece of candy for the pumpkin bucket. But there was another big truck with a horn that blasted three times. She went behind the car again, crying hysterically now. But she still wouldn’t give up and get in the car.
She came out to look for Santa, but the parade was almost over. She rattled her pumpkin and stuck her face in to count how many lollipops she had so far. It contained the one piece of candy from the nice lady (a piece of peppermint) and three pieces of bubblegum we picked up for her. (She’s not allowed to have bubblegum yet because she doesn’t understand that you’re only supposed to chew it.)
She was still wiping her nose with her mittens when the young lady from the Dora Baptist Church walked straight up to her, bent down, and handed her the candy cane.
I think our daughter said, “Thank you,” but I’m not for sure. We asked her to, but in that moment Santa was almost there! Suddenly we were all pointing and waving.
Back in the car, she discovered she now only had two pieces of candy in the pumpkin. (We made the bubblegum disappear.) Both pieces were peppermint. The biggest piece was the candy cane. It was a small one, but it was just her size. She needed help opening the wrapper. With a big smile, she ate it on the way home.
I know the candy cane came from the Dora Baptist Church because attached to it was a small card printed with the church’s name and a message. In my mind, it’s no coincidence that after crying so many tears that evening, our daughter found this particular piece of candy in her bucket with this message attached.
It was an excerpt from The Legend of the Candy Cane. The candy is shaped like the letter “J for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day…” I won’t re-write the entire legend here. I think you get the message.
Thank you to the young lady from the Dora Baptist Church. May the message of the season touch us all.
Margaret S. Kirby is an assistant professor of communications at Eastern New Mexico University. Contact her at: