For the record, I’m fine with Christmas decorations being out in the stores right after Halloween. I have no problem with steamrolling over Thanksgiving, the day we commemorate our gracious ability to have a civil dinner with people we’ll later dispossess and turn into alcoholics.
But I was in CVS on Tuesday this week – that would be Oct. 5 – and saw these candy canes on display. Christmas is now leap-frogging over not just Thanksgiving but three solid months. Leave it to the large drug chains to make me miss the purple-chartreuse-orange-and-black hot mess that is commercial Halloween.
I know people who celebrate their “birthday week” and even their “birthday month.” I guess baby Jesus gets the whole season of Autumn now for his “birthday quarter.” (Geez, who died and made him king? Oh, OK . . . never mind.)
But come on, CVS, what’s with the candy canes in early October? If they’re selling them on Oct. 5, when are they making them? And what are they made of that they can sit in the factory, then the warehouse, then the storeroom, in the back of a truck, the CVS back room, and then the shelf for three months and not taste like the bottoms of your feet?
I decided to do an investigative report on candy canes, which means I watched an online video from the Discovery Channel called How It’s Made – Candy Canes.
I had forgotten how much I love to watch how things are made. When my kids were little, some of my best days were when Mr. Rogers would do a manufacturing segment and show how everyday things like teddy bears and No. 2 pencils are made.
As an adult I never pass up the chance to tour a factory. I’ve watched the making of bourbon, cheese, cardboard, apple cider, Jelly Bellys, glass, money, pewter knick-knacks, maple syrup and Toyotas.
I always regretted not going to the Crayola factory when we lived in New Jersey, although I heard it was “too touristy” and you really didn’t get to see the actual crayons being made. I’m pretty sure I saw how Hershey’s chocolate was made back before the same thing happened to Hershey Town or whatever they’re calling that chocolatized Disneyland now. I was very young and don’t remember anything about the trip other than wetting my pants in the back seat of the Pishkur’s Fairlane. And the kiss-shaped streetlights.
This candy cane factory video is pretty cool. My favorite part is when they put the blob of sugar and corn syrup on a big table and “then they feed the whole thing to a machine that uses shovels and a plunger to fold the batch repeatedly.” (I’ve actually watched that part three times now.)
The video answers my question about how they can have such a long shelf life: They’re made from sugar, water, corn syrup, starch and flavoring. They’ll last longer than some of your more delicate Christmas ornaments, which are sure to hit your neighborhood CVS any day now.