Before he stopped eating sugar altogether, in our early days, Dave ate candy canes.
“Stop it,” I’d admonish. “Those are just decorations.”
“They’re in a bowl,” he reasoned. “… on the table.”
I gave him a look, refusing to agree to the obvious.
“The table where we eat.” he continued– recklessly, given the stubbornness in my eyes.
Silently and firmly, I pulled the candy canes out of his hand and set them back in the bowl.
“They’re made of sugar,” he said, enjoying my annoyance now, more than he ever enjoyed a candy cane.
“Candy canes are not for eating,” I explained patiently. “They are decorations.”
“But you’ve eaten pig feet,” he argued with a smile. “Those are for walking.”
The analogy was ridiculous and I started laughing. “Oh for… just eat something else,” I ordered.
He saluted me with a grin.
Years later, at a Christmas charity ball, the hostess lamented that all the ornaments would go to waste.
“Give them to Dave,” I interrupted. “He eats decorations. Even the kind that could kill him.”
He choked on his laughter, handing me the candy cane he put in his pocket. He was diabetic by then, but the full story was too much to explain at a party.
“It’s my way of putting sparkle and sweetness in my cold dark heart,” he deadpanned to the hostess.
She peered at him for a moment, concern stretching her carefully-manicured face, as she wondered if he really ate ornaments. He stared back blankly until she let out a nervous trill of laughter.
That year, she mailed us a dozen boxes of sugar-free candy canes and Christmas ornaments.
“You confused her,” I told him.
“I made her think is all,” he protested with a grin. “As long as I make people think, I’ll die a happy man.”
“How ’bout you live as a happy man?” I bantered.
“How could I not?” he said. “I have enough candy cane for a week.”
He’s been dead 575 days now. 2 Christmases.
There’s bowls of candy canes everywhere– on front desks, on dinner tables, on trees.
I don’t eat them.
But they sweeten my holidays anyway.