Stan over at TYWKIWDBI posted this photo and caption: “Life Saver factory, 1956“
And over the life of this blog, I’ve wrestled the loss of faith and battled and barraged faith with gusto. Lately, I’ve backed off a bit on berating faith.
Okay, I haven’t backed off completely.
The way I saw it, if I was taught to love Jesus, loved Jesus and fell out of love after 25 or so years, the least I could have was four or five years to publicly whine about it.
My years in faith weren’t all that bad. There are good memories as well. Memories with Life Savers.
You see, every Sunday, we drove to church. On the way out the door, my mom would grab rolls of Life Savers from a drawer in the island of our kitchen. You probably had a similar drawer. It was the drawer between the miscellaneous screws, screw drivers, a hammer and some wires. And on the other side, there was a drawer of snack bags and aluminum foil.
But that one drawer kept little snacks, hard candies and a the like.
My mom kept rolls of Life Savers to give us at church.
Church services were approximately an hour. The first half hour were always sit-down-stand-up prayers/songs/calls to worship. A scripture was read. You sing standing. You sat down for one. The collection plate was passed.
For the first 30 minutes, my parents expected me to pay attention.
But for some reason, my parents didn’t expect me to pay attention during the sermon. During that time, I could draw or read the kid’s paper that we got in Sunday School. And it was during the sermon we got our roll — an entire roll — of Life Savers.
The moment was clockwork. The congregation quieted for the sermon. Everyone would rock on their butts to find that right spot that felt a little comfortable in uncomfortable pews. The wood creaked a little up front, then in the back, then up front to the left.
My mom would reach for her purse, dig inside, and remove a roll and place it in my hand. I looked at the roll. Turned it over in my hands. I slid the paper casing up and down. Then I removed it, and stuck it over my middle finger. I tested its strength by bending my finger.
Then, the paper would give and rip at my knuckle.
The roll was now a silver tube with a little red pull string at one end. It was a little stick of dynamite. A bomb … ready to go off.
I would pull that little red string and the silver foil paper would tear in a circle. Under the foil, there is another layer of white wax paper. Red and orange were always first, and I usually saved my red until after I finished the first orange and green. But it wasn’t good to eat two reds one after the other.
It took just about 20 or 25 minutes to go through an entire roll.
I presume that the Life Savers were a ploy to keep us quiet. And over time, their purpose might have been forgotten, because they became tradition.
Each flavor became something of a tease. I didn’t really like green, but it was a necessary evil to get back to red. Yellows were savory, but oranges could go to hell.
The whites were, well, okay.
And no matter how many times I ate a roll, it always surprised me to see a green at the end.
The week’s at church when mom forgot the roll of Life Savers were always unwelcome. Yeah, my dad had a Dutch mint, but it wasn’t a roll of Dutch mints.
I haven’t had a Life Saver in, what, fifteen years.
I think I’ll have a roll for lunch.