Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, In a Dish...

Dubble Bubble. Those small pink pieces of gum base, sugar, corn syrup, and flavoring twisted up into those bright yellow and blue wrappers hold a very VERY special place in my heart. I'm pretty sure my attachment to this bulk candy is borderline unhealthy. It's a comfort food for me, even if it's not technically food. Last week, I would have looked at the above photo and smiled. I probably would have also laughed to myself. Remembering all the secret passing of this treat in the church sanctuary, as though it were a secret only I was privy to.

I wasn't. There wasn't a kid in the room who didn't know that that guy? That one sitting right over there in the middle row? He's handing out bubble gum. Or chewing gum depending on your own personal preference. There also wasn't a parent in the room who didn't know that their children who were about to partake in communion were contemplating whether to swallow a piece of gum, or figure out a way to hold it, and pass the communion trays with out dropping either one.

You could say that this guy was our "dealer". I mean, I can't begin to estimate how many times he walked passed me just to shake my hand, and pass me a "secret" piece of chew. It was always enough to make me smile. The fact that this tradition continued well into my young adult years makes it even more special.

But today? Today, that photo brings me a mixed feeling of sadness and rejoicing. On Sunday, the Gum Man went home to be with the Lord. My heart literally aches, knowing that I will not have another chance to be asked without words if I need a piece of gum. It aches knowing that this part of my life, this comforting event, will never happen again.

And yet? I rejoice and take comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer suffering. News of his passing was not a surprise. I actually knew before my dad told me over the phone. I knew because there was no other reason my dad would be calling in the early afternoon on a Sunday. I am confident in the knowledge that he is now in heaven. In a perfect body, and is no longer suffering. I take comfort in knowing that one day, if I play my cards right, I will see him again.

I also rejoice in the fact that I was blessed to get know him for 27 years. I am blessed to know his wife. They have been married for 63 years. That's 10 times longer than I have been married. I can only hope that one day I can say that Paulo and I have been married 63 years. The Gum Man and his wife were truly a vital part of my childhood. The model for marriage they displayed is one I have no trouble saying I want to mimic in my own.

Dick, thank you. For more than just the gum.

4 Thoughts on This:

Heather said...

Wow, S. I don't don't what to say.

This entry really touched me.

Hatfields said...

I loved this one. Beautiful writing, beautiful story. Wonderful person. <3

Tiff said...

What a precious legacy. How nice it would be to leave behind these kinds of memories. I hope that my passing leaves people with the same kinds of pleasant, homey, precious memories like this.

Love you.

Melody said...

Sara, oh thank you for sharing this cherished childhood memory. You've rekindle some childhood church moments of my own.

The Gum Man's family is in my thoughts and prayers.