at the end of the dirt road, that snaked back through the hills, passing our house, sat a single wide trailer, in a yard with grass so tall it was mostly hidden. if you follow the skinny trail of trampled down grass you will find an aluminum door, the glass in the window fogged by age, and inside, seated in a brown recliner, clawed ragged by the feral runaway cats that had found a home, sits the candy lady.
not too many people would brave the trip to the end of that road, at least no after puberty sets in, but when we were kids and our parents had shooed us out of the house for asking too many questions, after exhausting all other resources, we would go see the candy lady to get our answers.
she smelled like eucalyptus and old cigarettes. though she never smoked in front of us, i once saw an pack of pall malls peaking out of her soft side purse that always sat within arms reach of her chair. the eucalyptus came from cream colored lozenges she would unwrap slowly, then place on the tip of her chalky tongue and suck on until they disappeared.
she always seemed to know when we were coming, waving us in as soon as we stepped through the curtain of grass. we would sit indian style on the blue carpet at her feet and ask our questions, or present our case when there was a dispute. she never talked much, just smiled a toothless grin, lips curling back across her gums, and pass around a crystal candy dish, that sat on the table beside her.
we always knew what to do when we left there, somehow the questions were either answered or became trivial. in many ways, she is the one that helped us through our childhood, but as we grew older our visits became sporadic and eventually stopped. sure, we still had our problems, but we had learned how to carry them so they did not weigh so much.
the day i graduated college, i thought of the candy lady, for the first time in years, and walked the dirt road to tell her thank you, but all i found was a field of tall grass. no trailer. no candy lady. just the soft smell of eucalyptus and old cigarettes on the warm breeze.
every once in a while, when i visit my family, i look out the window and see neighborhood kids traveling that same road, the determination on their faces letting me know, they are on their way to get their questions answered.
This is a Theme Thursday post.