Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hot Tamales

Have you ever had Hot Tamales? No, not the ones made with spiced meat and wrapped in corn masa but the chewy, cinnamon flavored candy.

When I was in second grade I went to St. Joseph’s Catholic school. It was in a big, old building in a poor, Hispanic part of Denver; 6th and Galapago if you know the area.

For a second grader there were only two reasons to venture up to the second floor. One was the vending machines that had pens, pencils and something called a Composition Notebook. I didn’t even know what that was but I always wanted one. The second reason was a counter at the end of the hall that sold candy.

One day I traveled up to the second floor with the candy counter as my destination. It was a big day; I had some money and had never been to this place before. As I walked down to the end of the hall I saw one of the Catholic nuns and her young female assistant behind the counter. As I got closer I looked at the vast selection, looking for the box I wanted. I asked, “Do you have Hot Tamales?” The nun and the girl looked at each other and laughed.

Their reaction to the misunderstanding of my desire planted a message deep in me. I turned and got out of there as quick as I could. I never went back to the second floor.


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