It seems that April has proved this year to be the cruelest month. But actually it has been so for the past 10 years, according to my favorite Minnesota weatherman. Just even thinking about how our state’s been consistently experiencing below normal spring temps for a decade now makes me shiver as I pull back out my warmest woolen mittens that I had just packed away.
I also know my back porch is still playing host to my shiny red shovel, worn out snow boots, ice melt and my heaviest dog hair covered parka. After all, even though it’s the middle of April, it snowed earlier this week and last week we experienced wicked winds, rain, ice and hail.
So in an effort to make myself smile, I took a walk up the hill to the grocery store one recent morning. I’d intended to pick up a loaf of heart healthy 12 grain bread but instead walked out with an oversized bag of sugar filled jelly beans that will surely disgust my dentist. I’m easily distracted, and the Easter display next to the bread aisle drew me in with its cornucopia of brightly colored jelly bean packages to choose from. I’ll admit, the sweet scent of an army of happy chocolate bunnies sporting blue bow ties next to the beans couldn’t be ignored, but I held my ground.
The truth is I don’t even like jelly beans all that much, but I was already popping some of those ruby red, sun-kissed orange, lemon yellow and berry blue candies into my mouth even before I walked out of the store.
I guess that jelly beans have always been my “go to” comfort food in spring. And perhaps even more so in this crazy year of 2022 with our continuing COVID concerns, increasing crime, inflation, supply issues and the horrific war in the Ukraine.
As I continued nibbling on my jelly beans while walking home I suddenly felt like a little kid again. There I am sitting on an old church pew next to Dad in my winter jacket and snow
boots, yet in spite of the weather I’m wearing an Easter bonnet trimmed in tiny pink daisies. Dad and I are both carefully and slowly pulling out small handfuls of jelly beans from our pockets during another long sermon given by our long winded minister. Occasionally Dad and I each pretend to cough, covering our mouths, as we sneak a few beans from our now sticky and colored hands onto our tongues. Then we chew, and swallow. Dad trained me very well and I never dropped even one jelly bean. Though on one April Easter morning, Dad grabbed up too many beans and accidentally dropped them all. The congregation could hear the pitter patter of each shiny colored jelly bean as it rolled down the aisle towards the minister’s black wingtips.
I don’t think the minister was amused, though Dad probably was. At least a little. But I’m guessing he was mostly annoyed that he lost some of those jelly beans. Especially the ruby red ones that were his favorite.
After Dad died two decades later from Alzheimer’s, we discovered that he had been hoarding jelly beans for years. My family smiled through our tears at the discovery as we tossed out the past dated bags.
I still miss my Dad. He was such a kind and loving father. This Easter Sunday said a prayer of gratitude for him at church. I prayed that we all can find safety and peace in this month of April and always.
And yes, I will had jelly beans in my pockets just in case you’re wondering.
Jackie Campbell writes from St. Louis Park.