See’s Candies–What More Can You Say (or Smell)?

The year 2021 will be known for many things with the number one item at the top being the endless coronavirus that stubbornly is still hanging around preventing normalcy to return.

However, something lighter and brighter also happened in 2021:  See’s Candies celebrated their 100th anniversary.  To commemorate the event, the company issued special new candies each month, available for a limited time.

During the pandemic, I consumed more See’s than I normally would in 2-3 years—the ultimate comfort food.  One reason for my lifeline to See’s was that a person could easily order candy and have it home delivered during the quarantine period when most businesses were shut down.

The first See’s Candies shop I knew was on San Fernando Blvd. in downtown Burbank.  My mom would take our family there a few times a year.

See’s would usually be the chocolate of choice for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day presents.

Over the years my tastes have changed.  As a kid, I always preferred the milk chocolate cremes over all other selections.  Towards the middle part of my life, I leaned towards the pre-boxed nuts and chews assortment over the cremes.  Now I hand select my favorite dark chocolate pieces:  Scotchmallows, almond nougats, butterchews, walnut squares, and, of course, Bordeauxs.

What is extra special about See’s is how little has changed no matter which parent company runs it.  One can only pray that this remains true.

Every See’s Candies shop is identical in design no matter what city you are in.  The black and white motif, the uniforms of its employees, the sound of chocolates delicately placed in protective corrugated wrappers, the smell (oh, the smell) that enrobes you like a piece of chocolate.  The delightful display case of all the goodies that goes on forever, and the self-serve shelves of pre-packaged goodies.

The one thing that has changed over the years is that only women used to work in the stores.  Now you will see some men.  I prefer the ladies serving chocolate, thank you very much.  Why?  Because it reminds you of a mother figure and even a Mary See figure serving you the delicacies, you know, the person who adorns every box, the person without whom this 100-year-old candy company would have never existed.

It was her son Charles who started selling his mother’s candy in Los Angeles back in 1921.

Living in a time when so much change flashes by us in a blur, how comforting and soothing it is knowing that See’s Candies remains steady.  No shortcuts in its ingredients.  And still rather affordable for quality chocolate.

Believe me, I have tried other candy companies.  Whenever I travel, I look for the local chocolatier and taste their wares.  I’ve hunted online for the “oldest” candy store in a vicinity and ordered from many.  There are several delicious boxes of chocolates out there—my second favorite is Lowery’s in Muncie, Indiana (which still rolls its pieces by hand)—but few match the taste, the size (the See’s pieces are larger than most) or the consistent quality than See’s Candies.

May it last another 100 years. And may the final thing I eat before I die be a dark Bordeaux chocolate.

New Year’s Resolutions for Inconsiderate People

The new year is typically a time when people make resolutions.   Here is a list of my resolutions, not for me, but for those among us who never learned about showing consideration for others.

As a teacher, I have a front row seat to bad manners.  Students regularly yawn uttering a large roar, never covering their mouths.  I’ve lost track of how often a student walks in the middle of two people having a conversation without saying, “Excuse me.”

When teens talk to one another in person, they should remove all ear buds; otherwise, it looks like the person is not giving his full attention to the speaker.

I wish people would resurrect the saying “you’re welcome” instead of “no problem” when someone says “thank you.”  “No problem” gives the wrong impression that whatever act was performed was a difficulty—not a pleasure.

Sometimes I feel I must be the last man on earth who feels that swearing in public is not okay especially when children are present.

I still recall a family vacation a decade ago when my wife and two young boys were strolling the streets of Golden, Colorado past a group of men sitting at an outside table, their discussion peppered with vulgarities.  As we passed, one of them said, “Pardon us.”  The reason this has remained in my memory is because it is the only time I have ever heard such an apology coming from another human being.

After unloading groceries, return the shopping cart to the proper corral; the parking lots have several.  Think about the next driver who won’t be able to park in the space without hitting the cart left behind. Is it that much effort to walk it back?

Try not going to See’s Candies for a free sample without any intention of buying anything.  Too many selfish people take advantage of a kind gesture.

During the holidays, I saw an elderly man get free candy for himself, his wife, and granddaughter.  Then when his granddaughter said she did not like chocolate, he went ahead and asked the employee for another choice of candy.  Loyal customers end up footing the bill for these freeloaders.  Plus, what lesson is the grandfather teaching?

At the gym, wipe down the machines after using them.  Most members don’t even wipe them before using them.  I’m stunned watching people put their bare hands on equipment not knowing whose hands were previously there and what bacteria was on those hands.

Enough with people taking their dogs everywhere they go.  Latest crazy sighting?  At a Starbucks.  No, not at an outside patio, but inside . . . with the cocker spaniel sitting on a stool.

People in recent years have been sensitive about nut allergies which affect about 7% of the population, yet allergies to dogs and cats are nearly doubled that at 15%.  So why aren’t more merchants and customers complaining about the dogs?

I wish bicyclists would at least slow down at stop signs. Why someone riding a bike feels emboldened to run through stop signs at the risk of being hit by a 2-ton motor vehicle is beyond me.  Too often people count on the consideration of other people without exhibiting that behavior themselves.

People think nothing of using their hands to text or talk using a cell phone while driving, yet for some reason using their turn signal requires too much effort for their fellow drivers.  With everything automatic in cars these days, surely car companies can program signals to automatically go on as soon as the driver turns the steering wheel a specified number of degrees.

Funny how drivers blow through stop signs and red lights, but delay going on green lights due to using their cell phones.

For 2019, let us keep in mind that we live in communities.  Showing consideration for others makes us all safer . . . and nicer.