• Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Meta

More Than a Cheese Tray

It’s more than a cheese tray.  More than pepperoni and salami on a platter.  More than a fruit plate.  More than a basket of crackers and a bowl of nuts.  It’s cheese, fruit, crackers, nuts, and cured meats on a flat board, any size and any shape.  It’s a charcuterie board.

            When I first heard charcuterie, I asked, “A char what?”  I looked up the word in my online dictionary: cold cooked meats.  It wasn’t in my trusty paperback Webster’s New Dictionary, copyright 2002.  What’s the origin of the word?  When and how did charcuterie boards become the rage for entertaining? 

            According to online sources, charcuterie is from two French words: ‘chair,’ meaning flesh and ‘cuit,’ meaning cooked.  It was a way to preserve meat, before refrigeration was available, and to prepare meat products.  During the first century in Rome, meat was salted and cured, and centuries later charcutiers in 15th century France produced and sold bacon, sausages, head cheese – any pork that could be preserved. 

            Corkdining.com states that charcuterie is rooted in the belief that nothing from the animal should be wasted; not even the heart, lungs, kidneys, fat, or brain.  This takes me back to hog-killing day on the Friday after Thanksgiving when I was a kid when Dad and Granny certainly didn’t know cured meats were called such a fancy word as charcuterie.

             According to most sources, a charcuterie board must include meat, so add cured meat to a simple cheese tray and voila!  During the past few years, charcuterie boards have evolved into meals, party themes, works of art, and almost anything goes. 

            Wanting to learn to create a board from a master, I recently took a class taught by Diego Alvarez, the owner of the Royal House of Cheese.  On my working space, he placed a two-inch thick, eleven-inch diameter wooden disc and enough food to feed a family of six.  Grapes. Strawberries and raspberries.  Three kinds of cheese.  Salami, polish sausage, and prosciutto. Dried apricots and cranberries.  A sleeve of round crackers. Handfuls of bagel chips and nuts.

            Was it possible to balance all of that on something with no sides? And what went where?

Diego patiently explained the circle as a clock face and suggested the placement of foods.  As crackers slid, he expertly fanned them into a crescent.  He suggested food arrangements based on flavors that complement each other and said to vary textures and colors.

            Diego is an excellent teacher, as well as entertaining, and I created a charcuterie board that I proudly served to guests the next day.  Only one raspberry rolled onto the floor.  And Diego taught me how to confidently say charcuterie: char- like to blacken meat, cu- like cu when saying a cute baby, and erie rolls off the tongue to rhyme with rotisserie.

            Now that I can put together charcuterie boards, will they go the way of fondue?  Remember fondue parties in the 1970’s?  By the time I hosted one, they were going out of style.

Bridgette and Rogd

I first saw her black afro and its red highlights. “You all want to go on the next tram tour?” How did she talk and grin at the same time? Her dark eyes sparkled against her dark skin. “Hop on. We leave again in ten minutes,” she said and then walked toward the welcome center at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

He stood ramrod straight, about 6″ 2″ tall.  His grey-rimmed glasses matched his eyes and hair; his fair complexion could burn under the Florida sun, even on this winter day.  “I like to get to know people. Where are you from?”  he asked in a controlled monotone.

At 12:00 noon, tram driver Bridgette took her seat and helped Rodg untangle the wires on his headset microphone. Then we twenty or so guests set off for a one-hour, two-mile tour of the eighty-three-acre park.

First impressions. She was short, feisty, middle age.  He was tall, serious, retirement age. The driver and the guide couldn’t seem more opposite.

The tram travelled slowly as Rodg pointed to and named trees, shrubs, flowering plants; he included scientific names that I can’t spell or pronounce. “That’s a royal palm.  There’s a clonal palm – it’s leaves are used on thatched roofs. And there’s a…….,” Rodg hestitated.  He looked at Bridgette; she said names that he repeated and then he said, “I taught her everything she knows and now tells me.”  He chuckled quietly.

“Stop at the lipstick tree and let’s see who wants red lips,” he said. After the tram stopped, he slowly walked toward a branch loaded with ping-pong size red fruits.  He stretched his arm overhead and touched a fruit with his fingertips, but didn’t grasp it. Bridgette stepped off the tram and jumped to pull down the branch with one hand, and grabbed a fruit with her other hand. 

Rodg explained the origin of the tree and opened the fruit filled tiny balloon-like seeds.  Red liquid squirted when he squeezed the seeds. “Anyone want red lips?  Or maybe stripes on your cheeks or forehead?  It’ll wear off in a week or so.”  

The next stop Rodg suggested everyone get off the tram and look up for football-size yellow pods. He asked, “Does anybody like chocolate?” and he talked about the tropical evergreen cocoa tree.  I stood apart from the group, near Bridgette. “You and Rodg have a good time together, don’t you?” I said. 

Bridgette’s face softened. “I love that man. He’s in the beginning phase of Parkinson’s, and they (the park management) thought he should quit.  But he’s so kind and knowledgeable and I said I’d be his driver.  Now we do just three tours a day, only two days a week, and we have fun.”

At the Fairchild Garden, I saw beautiful trees and plants and a butterfly conservatory.  Birds, iguanas, and lizards scattered quickly from sight. But my take-away at this botanical garden was the respect and friendship between two people who are so very different. 

She saw only the best in him.

Valentine’s Day Cards – Then and Now

Every February, I open the large brown envelope that a friend gave me for a few years ago.  Inside are four cards, all fragile and yellowed with age.

            A flat cardboard card opens to a red faded tissue paper accordion greeting.  Only the words ‘Valentine Thoughts’ convey the message of the bright-eyed smiling children shown.  This 10 x 8-inch card was probably made in the early 1900s when honeycomb paper and fold-out valentines were popular.  I wonder if the person who first received this card appreciated its simplicity, its beauty as I do.

            A postcard-sized rectangle folds out to stand. Tiny colorful flowers and an outdoor fountain provide the backdrop for a little boy dressed in short pants looking toward a little girl wearing a dress, short enough to show her white bloomers. The only words are To My Valentine.  Nothing more is needed.

            Two other cards are much more wordy.  One shows a man dressed in pants and jacket fitting for his top hat and bow tie.  The verse title is ‘Don’t Say I’m No Bargain.’

            I know that you love bargains

            Confess Now! Ain’t it true?

            Ain’t I a bargain, Honey?

            Please take me home with you!

            Be My Valentine!

            The man wears a placard that reads, “Take me home for Nothing.”  A shopper might like his offer.

            Red hearts decorate the corners of another vintage card.  A man and a woman look toward each other.  She’s wearing a green dress that falls at mid-calf and is seated, her fingers on a manual typewriter.  He’s dressed in a white shirt, a red tie, a black jacket, and green pants, and stands, leaning toward her.   

            The verse is titled ‘Take This Down!’

            You’re just my type, and do we click?      

            I’ll say we do – but gee!

            Now get this straight, and get it quick,

            You can’t dictate to ME!

            When I first saw this card, my heart softened.  Ah, an old-fashioned sweetheart card.  Then I read the message and was brought up short.  Well, it is old-fashioned, for sure.

            The couple’s clothing and the typewriter are clues to when it was printed.  The best clue is the artist, Dudley T. Fisher, Jr.  If Wikipedia is correct, Fisher lived from 1890 – 1951 and was a syndicated newspaper cartoonist beginning in 1937.  So, maybe someone gave this card to his sweetheart in the 1940s. 

            Today Valentine cards are printed for everyone, not just sweethearts.  There are cards for parents, children, teachers, friends, grandchildren.  To avoid doing what my friend did, read the verses.  He thought he’d chosen the perfect card for his wife.  The front had flowers and hearts and a simple Happy Valentine’s Day greeting.  But he overlooked the inside of the card:  To my favorite teacher. 

            His wife is a teacher who has a sense of humor so she laughed. Maybe I should loan him my honey-comb fold out card.  He couldn’t go wrong with Valentine Thoughts. 

            And we can’t go wrong with a simple Valentine greeting to tell someone we care. 

Some Things Don’t Wait

Monday, January 3, 2022.  Chores and tasks lay ahead.  Laundry.  Respond to emails.  Make plans for a club meeting.  Submit a column to the newspaper. 

            The column, a letter addressed to 2022, was written and ready for one more read-aloud. Then Husband’s edits:  insert words I omitted or maybe add an s to a word I meant to write plural.

            But Mother Nature gave us snow and Monday tasks and that column, fell to the wayside. I sat where I begin most days to drink coffee, list blessings, read a devotion, write notes, and watch a few birds.  But Monday, I munched on grapes and drank coffee and stared outside for a long time.

            Except for driveways and streets, everything was white – clean, brilliant, beautiful.  Every branch, every twig, were laden with snow and many more birds came to our birdfeeder that is about 18” from my window. 

            Brown house finches ate quickly and flew.  A downy woodpecker pecked into an open feeder hole as he would into a dead tree.  A red Northern cardinal perched, but didn’t eat until a female cardinal sat beside him.  Both held seeds in their beaks and turned their heads side to side before flying away. 

            A Carolina chickadee, smaller than the other birds, perched at the feeder’s top as if claiming ownership before he chose a perch and stayed a while.  A tufted titmouse joined the chickadee, not giving up his perch quickly.

            I didn’t immediately identify several birds about the size of house finches.  Their dark charcoal -colored backs and tailfeathers set off their white bellies and orange beaks.  Looking through my bird field guide, I found the junco, a sparrow that winters in the southeastern states.  And I found a date I’d written when I’d spotted juncos another time: February, 2021.

            Doves strutted slowly on the ground and picked up seeds that had been dropped by other birds.   I admired their patience.

            Then I learned my Grands across town were playing outside. “I’m coming over,” I texted Daughter.  She responded, “Come quickly. After two hours outside, it’s almost time for hot chocolate.”

            “Want to ride down the hill, Gran?” Lucy asked.  While I considered how steep the hill was and the many trees, my Grand jumped onto her sled and flew down the hill.  I didn’t sled or roll like a log down the hill or throw fistfuls of snow down anyone’s coat, but I did make the biggest snow angel and stomp a giant S while my Grand stomped all the letters to spell her name.

            I lost miserably playing a game of UNO that went on and on because nobody, my four Grands nor I, wanted it to end.  What’s better than sitting inside a warm house, wrapped in a blanket, and drinking hot chocolate after playing outside on winter’s first snow day?

            Chores and tasks wait.  Playing with Grands and watching birds do not.   

            And that previously written column?  Maybe it’ll keep until next week.

What If?

I’m caught again.  Caught between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I want to hang on to Christmas and I look forward to a new year, a new beginning. Between Christmas and 2022, my thoughts are mish-mashed and tangled.  It’s difficult to separate my writing notes to remember Christmas from my notes to move forward.  I’d like to write about both, but for now I’m storing 2022 thoughts.

            I wish the spirits and events of Christmas would stay with us.  Kindness. Worship. Smiles. Generosity.  Gathering with family and friends. 

            Husband and I stood at the back of our church sanctuary on Christmas Eve night and searched for a place to sit.  Our ‘regular’ seats were taken and most pews were filled so we gladly sat wherever there were empty seats.  People, most we didn’t know and who probably didn’t know each other, sat shoulder to shoulder. 

            When a man stood at the end of a pew, people moved a bit closer to make room for one more.  A group of twenty-something year-olds sat side-ways, arms across the back of the church pew to offer seats to others.

            During Sunday church services Ken and Cindy sit with friends, but Christmas Eve they were flanked by their three sons, daughters-in-law, and two toddler grandchildren – all who had travelled hours to be together.  On some pews, college students, home for a short time, sat between parents and grandparents. 

            Scripture was read; Christmas carolswere sung.  There were shepherds abiding. An angel appeared.  Born this night in Bethlehem, the city of David, Christ the Lord.  Joy to the World.  Mary, Did You Know?  Oh, Holy Night.  Silent Night.   

            As the service ended, the flame from the Christ candle was passed from candle to candle until every candle, one held by every person, was lit. When I touched my unlit candle to the flame of the candle held by a friend beside me, he and I connected.  Connected by the light of Christmas.   

            Although I don’t like to shop, I purposedly shop just a few days before Christmas.  My young Grands wanted to buy gifts last week, and I gladly took them.  We walked past half-stocked shelves and wove among many shoppers and dodged fast-moving shopping carts, but most everyone was joyful.  Sales clerks offered help and bid us “Merry Christmas.” 

            While my two Grands and I stood in a self-checkout line, I saw a man turn to two boys, young teen-agers who I assumed were his sons, and say, “It’s a long line, but everyone looks happy.”  Indeed, shopping on December 23 is a happier experience than the 23rd day of other months.  We shoppers purchased gifts to make someone else happy.

            Can we keep Christmas?  What if we always made room for one more person?  Through the long nights of winter, what if candles glowed in the windows of our homes? 

            What if we always shopped to make others happy?    

When the calendar reads 2022, what if we held onto the spirit of Christmas?

Laugh Now and Treasure Later

School’s out so take a kid for a car ride.  While raising Daughter and Son, I learned that children talk when confined to a small space and with few distractions, and now I get to ride with our Grands.

            Husband and I took two Grands home from our house recently.  Seven-year-old Micah asked his sister, “Lucy, what’s that thing you got?”

            Lucy, age 10, held it out for him to see.  “It’s an orange with cloves stuck in it. It smells really good. Gran said Mom made them when she was a kid.”

            “What’s it for?”

            “To smell good and to give to Mom.”

             “Why’s that ribbon on it?”

            It was my turn. “It’s called a pomander.  A long time ago, people made pomanders and hung them on their Christmas trees as ornaments so we tied a ribbon around Lucy’s so your mom can hang it on your tree.  And pomanders are supposed to bring good health and luck.”

            “What’s luck?” asked Micah.

            “When good things happen,” said Lucy.

            “Like what?”

            “Micah, you know what good things are.”

            It was Husband’s turn.  “When something good happens that you don’t expect to happen, that’s luck.  If I walked on a sidewalk and saw a dollar bill and it didn’t belong to anyone, I’d be lucky.”

            For a minute or two no one said anything, I watched Micah look out the car window and then he said, “So, if I hold that thing Lucy’s got, I’ll find a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk and I can to keep it?”

            Not exactly, but my Grand is close to understanding luck. 

             Last week, Micah and I were going to Ralph’s for a Friday morning donut.  While waiting at a traffic light, Micah counted cars aloud. “One, two, three, four.”  Then in a loud, excited voice he said, “Gran! Did you see that?”

            “What?” I asked.

            “That Lamborghini!  A grandma was driving a Lamborghini!”

            “Really? Are you sure?”                               

            “Yes, really!”  Micah nodded emphatically. 

            “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grandma drive a Lamborghini. That’s strange.”

            Micah agreed.  “Me either. That’s really, really strange.” Then he stared out the window, slowly shook his head side-to-side, and whispered, “A grandma driving a Lamborghini.”

            I never doubt my Grand’s identification of the make of any car, and his wonderment of something he’d never seen ended our conversation. 

            Several years ago, a Grand said something that has stuck with me.  We were stopped at a traffic light near our county courthouse.  “That’s the way Yoda (a Star Wars character) would say it.”  I asked, “Say what?” 
            “In God we trust.  It’s on the top of that building.  I guess everybody understands, but most people would say we trust in God.”  My Grand’s observation led to a discussion about trusting God. I’m thankful for that memory.             Take children for car rides or find time to talk with only them, they’ll say things that will make you laugh now and you’ll treasure later.  Time together may be your best Christmas gift.

Laugh Now and Treasure Later

School’s out so take a kid for a car ride.  While raising Daughter and Son, I learned that children talk when confined to a small space and with few distractions, and now I get to ride with our Grands.

            Husband and I took two Grands home from our house recently.  Seven-year-old Micah asked his sister, “Lucy, what’s that thing you got?”

            Lucy, age 10, held it out for him to see.  “It’s an orange with cloves stuck in it. It smells really good. Gran said Mom made them when she was a kid.”

            “What’s it for?”

            “To smell good and to give to Mom.”

             “Why’s that ribbon on it?”

            It was my turn. “It’s called a pomander.  A long time ago, people made pomanders and hung them on their Christmas trees as ornaments so we tied a ribbon around Lucy’s so your mom can hang it on your tree.  And pomanders are supposed to bring good health and luck.”

            “What’s luck?” asked Micah.

            “When good things happen,” said Lucy.

            “Like what?”

            “Micah, you know what good things are.”

            It was Husband’s turn.  “When something good happens that you don’t expect to happen, that’s luck.  If I walked on a sidewalk and saw a dollar bill and it didn’t belong to anyone, I’d be lucky.”

            For a minute or two no one said anything, I watched Micah look out the car window and then he said, “So, if I hold that thing Lucy’s got, I’ll find a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk and I can to keep it?”

            Not exactly, but my Grand is close to understanding luck. 

             Last week, Micah and I were going to Ralph’s for a Friday morning donut.  While waiting at a traffic light, Micah counted cars aloud. “One, two, three, four.”  Then in a loud, excited voice he said, “Gran! Did you see that?”

            “What?” I asked.

            “That Lamborghini!  A grandma was driving a Lamborghini!”

            “Really? Are you sure?”                               

            “Yes, really!”  Micah nodded emphatically. 

            “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grandma drive a Lamborghini. That’s strange.”

            Micah agreed.  “Me either. That’s really, really strange.” Then he stared out the window, slowly shook his head side-to-side, and whispered, “A grandma driving a Lamborghini.”

            I never doubt my Grand’s identification of the make of any car, and his wonderment of something he’d never seen ended our conversation. 

            Several years ago, a Grand said something that has stuck with me.  We were stopped at a traffic light near our county courthouse.  “That’s the way Yoda (a Star Wars character) would say it.”  I asked, “Say what?” 
            “In God we trust.  It’s on the top of that building.  I guess everybody understands, but most people would say we trust in God.”  My Grand’s observation led to a discussion about trusting God. I’m thankful for that memory.             Take children for car rides or find time to talk with only them, they’ll say things that will make you laugh now and you’ll treasure later.  Time together may be your best Christmas gift.

A Gift that Anyone Can Give

We’re all searching for perfect gifts, Christmas Wish List gifts and surprise gifts. 

            Are all gifts wrapped in green paper and tied with red ribbons?  Are all gifts bought?  Are all gifts something to hold or build or wear or eat?  Certainly not. I’m reminded of this when I read, for the umpteenth thousand time, the words on a sheet of yellowed paper. The paper that was taped to the inside of Mom’s kitchen cabinet, and I’ve had it on my desk for thirty years.

A Gift that Anyone Can Give……..A Smile

It costs nothing, but saves much. 

It enriches those who receive it, without impoverishing those who give. 

It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it; none so poor that he is not enriched by it. 

It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends. 

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sick, and nature’s best antidote for trouble. 

It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is no earthly good to anyone until it is given away. 

If you meet someone too burdened with grief or worry to smile, just give him one of yours.

For nobody needs a smile so much as he who has none left to give.

Anonymous Author

            I wish I knew the author of these words.  I’ve searched online and found many similar writings, but none exactly like the one Mom saved.

            I wish I knew from what booklet or yearbook Mom cut out this writing.  It was printed during the days of mimeograph machines, and the right top corner of the page has the number 13.  The paper is fragile. The message is strong and timeless.

            Perhaps no one needs a smile as much as those who work in the service industry, especially now.  They are expected to serve graciously, yet may not be greeted with smiles and appreciation.  Last week I watched a postal worker interact with three people.  She didn’t smile, but didn’t frown.  She did her job.  She took payment, put stamps on boxes, and stacked the boxes onto a big metal cart.

            Thinking of Mom’s clipped writing, I imagined she was weary at 4:00 on a Monday afternoon.  “You are working so hard and being so kind,” I said and I smiled as I handed her an envelope.  “I’m trying,” she said.  We chatted as she looked up how much postage is needed on a Christmas card going out of the country, put a stamp on the envelope, and took my money.

            Before I walked away, I smiled my biggest and wished her a happy rest of the day. She put both her hands on the post office counter, smiled, and said, “Thanks, I’ll keep trying.”             Her smile and positive attitude have stayed with me.  I appreciate her gift. 

Counting Gifts and Blessings

Have you seen the cartoon of a family gathered around a dining room table that’s laden with a Thanksgiving dinner, a perfectly browned turkey and bowls of sides?  A little girl, whose chin almost rests on the table’s edge says, “Shouldn’t we be thankful more than one day a year?”

            Yes, indeed, we should.  A habit that helped me during the pandemic was writing in a gratitude journal that I began years ago.  There’s something about listing and numbering blessings, using a favorite black ink pen on lined spiral-bound paper, that is calming. That reminds me the greatest blessings are gifts of my every day, ordinary life. 

            I credit Ann Voscamp’s books, One Thousand Gifts and One Thousand Gifts Devotional, for prompting me to keep an ongoing list.  Before reading her books, I mentally noted blessings and prayed thanksgivings, but I took Voscamp’s challenge to put pen to paper.  Actually, Voscamp writes that her cynical friends challenged her and her change in attitude led to her books.  Could I list 1000 Gifts? 

             My list began with people.  All those I love most, family and friends.  Then the comforts often taken for granted:  a warm house, food, clothes, car, the freedom to worship, running water.  My list became more specific. Micah, with open mouth and arms, runs to me.  Doing chair yoga with Sheila’s CD. Catching lightning bugs with Lucy.

            Looking back, my journal reads like a diary.  Medicine to control vertigo.  Swimming at the Y with Grands.  College girlfriends come to spend two nights.  Tommy Sue cleaned up my kitchen mess.

            This week guidepost.org posted an article entitled “Gratitude Makeover” which includes tips to stay present and uplifted.  1. As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, say “thank you.” 2.  Start a gratitude journal. 3. Live in wonder. 4. Take a new path. 5. Keep an “attitude of gratitude.”  I’m not surprised that a gratitude journal is number 2, and I’m convinced it leads to number 5.  Doesn’t gratitude create attitude?

            Hot bath.  Warm, comfortable bed.  Cardinal at the birdfeeder.  All Grands gathered around the dining room table to play Bingo. Annabel and Elsie climb their magnolia tree.  Sunshine through the kitchen window.  Fresh strawberries.

            Voscamp’s writings aren’t always comforting.  “Counting 1000 gifts means counting hard things, otherwise I’ve miscounted.” I struggle counting hard things. Holding Joe’s hand as he lay in ICU. Brett undergoing heart surgery. My hand surgery.  Why be thankful for sickness?  For pain, physical and emotional?  Yet, blessings surface even during stressful, difficult times.  Minister prays for healing hearts.  Doctor’s assurances.

            Especially during the past nineteen months, I’ve counted technology blessings:  Zoom, FaceTime, email, and texts.  Even when I couldn’t visit with family and friend in-person, we stay connected.

            This week, I wrote #5099.  A safe walk to my Grands’ house.  Some days, I don’t write in my gratitude journal and other days, my pen almost runs out of ink.   #5100 Being able to write a weekly column.            

‘Tis the season to be thankful. 

Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet

The earworm won’t go away.  It plays over and over in my head.  All because my 16-year-old Grand asked if his family could trick or treat in my neighborhood this year, like they did last year.  He reminded me that the little kids, his siblings, liked it and that my street is safe.

            “Sure, but it’s your parents’ decision.  I’ll walk with you if they say it’s okay,” I told him. And then I added, “Treat or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” 

            I should have stopped after the word okay.  My Grand closed his eyes and shook his head as a teen-ager tends to do when a grandmother says something silly.  And those words about feet and something to eat have been on earworm rewind for a week. 

            That jingle takes me back to being a kid ghost, covered in a white sheet with eye holes cut out, and walking around my neighborhood on Halloween night.  My girlfriend and I chanted, “Smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” until we knocked on doors. 

            When a door opened, we held open our jack-o-lantern decorated paper grocery bags and in our sweetest voices we simply said, “Treat or treat.” In days of past, we children only knocked on doors of people we knew and we expected only one sucker or small chocolate candy at each house.  And I was always sure that if I wasn’t polite and said ‘thank you’ that the neighbor would report my bad manners to my parents.  I’d never say smell my feet to a grown-up.

            Since the smell-my-feet earworm hasn’t crawled away, I’ve wondered who wrote this jingle and when.  Every online source I found listed the writer as Anonymous.  After all, who’d claim credit for penning such words?  The jingle is first cited in print in 1948 or 1964, according to different online sites, but there are no named publications.  Who’d claim the notoriety of first printing these words? 

            I did discover several versions of the jingle.  Trick or treat, bags of sweets, ghosts are walking down the street.  Trick or treat, give me something good to eat; if you don’t I won’t be sad; I’ll just make you wish you had.  Kids in Canada have their own version:  Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat; not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal.

            And I discovered a version, first cited in print in 1988 (again, no publication listed) that I hadn’t heard before and will erase from my head so to never say aloud:  Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat; if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear. 

            Imagine if I’d said to my Grand pull down your underwear instead of smell my feet.  He wouldn’t walk down my street with me again and that earworm would be even more annoying.

            How about bags of sweet?  That could be a pleasant earworm.