Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Welcoming Spring with Bright Sweetness.

Ode to a Jellybean

Ovoid of bright, shiny color.
Taste buds salivating for more.
Rolling round in the mouth.
Swallow, there it goes, down south.

Fruity flavors, some not so.
Try the red one, give it a go.
Fan the tongue, boy that's hot.
Spit, hit the trash can, what a shot.

Buy a bagful, perhaps a pound.
Chew a handful, hear the lip smacking sound.
Grab a tissue, looking like a fool.
Wipe up that multi colored drool.

Who needs drugs with this candy treat.
Smiling as you slip out of your seat.
Oh the pleasure you think with a blissful sigh.
Oh the pleasure of a sugar high.

~Mary Cokenour – 2005~


Now what does the jellybean have to do with spring exactly?  Not much, except for the ovoid shape that closely resembles the egg.  Hmm, better give some history about eggs and spring before getting to the jellybean.  Ostara (also spelled Eostre) is a Germanic deity; a fertility Goddess whose festival centers on the Spring Equinox; her symbols are the egg and the rabbit. When Christianity began to make the rounds in Europe, there was no better way to have non-believers embrace it than to incorporate some of their beliefs; an assimilation. March 20th is the Spring Equinox; the Christian Easter falls in springtime; children are given multi-colored eggs and chocolate rabbits; even the name Easter closely resembles the name of the Goddess, Eostre.  This concludes our history lesson for today; now back to the jellybean.

Even though Turkish Delight (a jelly candy coated in powdered sugar) was around for centuries; it was not easily shipped and melted quickly.  In 1861, a Boston confectioner, William Schrafft, invented a jelly candy with a firm outer shell.  His biggest selling point?  Ship these candies to the boys and men fighting in the Civil War; give them a little sweet pleasure to get their minds off the horrors of war.   By the 1930s, the egg shaped candies were becoming incorporated into Easter celebrations with simple fruit flavors.  Not only were children fascinated by these confections, but parents loved that they were compact and didn’t melt too quickly in tiny hands.

The jellybean is now one of the most popular candies sold throughout the world; spiced, sours, Harry Potter influenced flavors of dirt, vomit and earwax (who did the taste testing for these!??!); Jelly Belly has 50 flavors, more than Baskin-Robbins has in ice cream.   Jellybeans are available all year long, in various sizes, even sugar free; they give a boost of energy; the bright colors and flavors even boost the mood.  Having a bad day and angry, why fight?  Let those little candies sweeten your mood, then you can look at things from a brighter perspective. 

Personally, there is a small bag of jellybeans in each of our vehicles.  Stuck in traffic, some idiot just cut us off, or the smallest thing just set one of us off; the bag of beans comes out and the world doesn’t seem so bad suddenly.  Does a simple candy snack really solve problems?  Of course not; just maybe though, it gives the mind a simple way out.   A momentary spurt of realization that what feels so terrible isn’t that bad at all.

Joyous Spring!!!

Mary Cokenour