There were so many things at Chutters (home of the world’s longest candy counter and today’s Big Event) besides lime fruit slices, but for some reason this was all I could focus on. I love these candies — not just lime, but all the other citrus fruit slices: grapefruit, lemons, oranges. They’re beautiful to look at, make great cupcake decorations and are nice to have around in a glass jar.
The drive through northern New Hampshire to the candy store took us toward the White Mountains. Everywhere we looked we saw green. And if you could ignore the child in the back of the car singing along to the Sound of Music, and the one next to him saying, “shush,” it was lovely country, mountains in the distance, the occasional barn and silo, here & there a little town with a white Congregational church at its heart.
The truth, though, is that nobody can really live in this lovely place because there just aren’t any jobs. As one of my sons pointed out, it’s a place for old people and college students.
Still, the boys talked a lot about how much they would love to live here. Why do we sometimes want to move to the places we visit on vacation? I suppose it has to do with confusing a place with the state of being on vacation. But it’s also the case that other lives are enticing when they are so different from your own. We live an urban life, in a small house, surrounded by many other cultures, a variety of foods and languages. The boys don’t really understand why we don’t live out here — it’s safe, and green, and the houses are so big, and the world’s largest candy store is not that far away. Why haven’t we packed our bags yet?
I suppose there are some things a parent can’t explain to a child. Sometimes I’m not so sure we made the right choice, staying in the Bay Area. We’ve given them a place where things are complicated — we can’t hide problems like homelessness here because the boys walk down the same streets we do. All the same, it’s beautiful at home. The bay, the fog, the hills, the bridges, the lemon trees, the wisteria in the spring and the bougainvillea and jasmine blooming in our back yard even in the winter — all are lovely. But it’s sometimes harder to see the beauty of your home than the beauty of a place like this. Today, what we all saw was what we don’t have at home: the spacious white houses, the green hills, the happy vacation minded people, and the candy store with the gleaming jars of candy, a penny a piece or $8.99 a pound.