This I Believe

Ethan - Springville, Utah
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

If there’s one proverb I try to live my life by, it’s this: Never turn down candy. Ever. And, with the odd exception of those scary men in dirty trench coats, it seems to have held true.

Free candy is almost always a good thing. Regardless of what flavor, what age, what texture, or what brand, never turn it down. Old caramels, even if they’re stale and crunchy, are handy suck on. Taffy, even though it makes my mouth ache, builds up those jaw muscles that are oh so essential in everyday life. Minty York’s, despite the awful taste, make my breath smell a whole lot better. Even those sugar-free, low-fat, no-fun candies serve a purpose. What it is, I just can’t say, but somebody knows. And if you turn down anyone’s candy, they may never offer it to you again. Simply because they only have cruddy candy one day doesn’t mean that next week they won’t turn over a new candy bar.

Oftentimes, I have considered the sentimental value of some sugary treats. When I’m digging in my room, I sometimes discover ancient Peeps from Easters long past. And as I chew on those old, crusty, and sometimes down right nasty little birds, I remember my childhood with a smile. If a dear friend has saved a piece of chocolate for you for months, believe me, it should be none the worse for the wear.

On the other side of the candy spectrum is my dear grandmother. Simply put, if it tastes good, she doesn’t eat it-which doesn’t mean she doesn’t want it. It just means she won’t eat it. Every time I try to put myself in her shoes, I find myself shuddering. What a dark, lonesome world it must be without candy. There are so many flavors, so many colors, and so many tastes she will never indulge in. If that isn’t a travesty, I don’t know what is. Life without Reese’s, Cadbury’s, Hershey’s, Starbursts, Mambas, and Jelly Belly’s is hardly a life at all.

Some of the sweet things in life only come once. There are experiences we will not get a second time. Words, feelings, laughs, tears, and smiles can’t be redone or rewound. People move and friends grow up and places change. If I turn them down now, I may only have memories of what I’ve missed. And when I have to leave something behind, the things I haven’t done will haunt me more than any memory of what I have done. Because I don’t want memories of mistakes, I never turn down candy. So much of the world is already sad. Why don’t we just take a bite and make things a little sweeter?

So, although God may smite me with diabetes, I will never turn down candy. Every time that I hesitate, I remember that some things only happen once. If I don’t grab at them now, I may never get another chance. That fate is a thousand times worse than chewing on a stale piece of caramel.