The God of Candy
By Joy Lynn Clark
September 23, 2021
My grandparents – On both sides are pretty religious. One side Catholic and the other, protestant. I always try to be good and sit through church. We would get dressed up and go listen to the word. I wasn’t teally that into it but I did my duty and went along.
My parents on the other hand. were not religious at all. I really only had to go when I was with grandma and grandpa.
I Remember one period As a child when I chose to attend church on my own. The missionaries would ride down my block in a school bus and pick up all of us native kids – without our parents. My mom was usually sleeping but she never minded that I went to church.
I really liked that missionary church. There was nothing but kids in the pew and we sang. There weren’t any grownups there except for the pastor and the ushers (Aka candy plate passers).
The way that I found out about it was from a friend of mine. I told her, “I hate church“. She said, “this is a really fun church where they give you candy“. I asked her, “is it little Halloween treats?“ And she replied, “no, they give full candy bars and juices.“ I told her I would go and ask my mom.
That first Sunday I tried to put on something nice. I couldn’t press out my hair so I put on a headband and my hair looked like a huge mop but it was clean. All of my tights were holy And my patent leather shoes were badly scuffed but, I was glad that it is summertime. As soon as we boarded the bus, the snacks started flowing. I was impressed. The sun was shining and I was thinking that this is going to be a great morning. After the bus picked up all of us children, we headed off to the church. It was a fairly long ride and when we finally arrived we were way out in the cornfield somewhere.
The second that I stepped off of the bus my feet started killing me. I felt cute in my sundress and penny loafers but the loafers were too small. Once we got into the church I took off my shoes and was asked if I could read. I replied, “yes“ and they ushered us to the pews where the kids who can read sat. We sang and read Bible verses. After every verse the ushers gave us more candy. I ended up holding a bunch of candy in my skirt along with the little Bible that they gave to us. I was so mad that I did not have a purse or bag. I was also embarrassed when the collection plate was passed because I did not have any money. Those church folks were really nice and did not mind that we were a bunch of broke kids.
The next Sunday we go again. This time, I had on flip-flops and I carried my little purse. As expected, the candy flowed continuously. Now this is not Sunday school, this is actually service in the church hall. I looked around the room and checked out the super little kids across the aisle. I didn’t know any of them. Just then I realize that I forgot my little Bible and I was passed another. This time I had a couple of quarters for the collection plate too. I tried to stuff that candy in my purse. As we headed out, the straps on my purse gave and my flip-flops broke – At the same time. I was flustered, this is the reason that I came. I can’t leave without my candy. I ended up running to the bus barefoot with just my Bible and one paltry candy bar.
On the way home, I was jealous looking at all of the kids gorging on their treats. My friend was cracking up. I wanted to confess to my friend about how uncomfortable and mad I was about the candy but she is really religious and would never understand.
I didn’t go back on the missionary bus for a while. My friend swore that God doesn’t mind if I just wear jeans and gym shoes. I was so insecure.
Whenever I went to church with grandma and grandpa it was an ordeal. Grandma would press out my hair and put it in rollers the night before. I used to feel like a princess. She would get me a pretty dress, patent leather shoes, and a purse. I felt wretched going to church in jeans and gym shoes.
It was a cool summer morning however, halfway through service I was burning up. I did have shorts but that seems really inappropriate. It was bad enough that my hair wasn’t pressed.
I didn’t get much candy this time. I managed to fit a chocolate bar and some gum into my pockets. However, I started to think that this just isn’t worth it. I put the change that my mom gave me in the collection plate and I got back on that bus to go home.
In the end, I thought that it was just too difficult to pray to the God of candy. I felt more like a scrub than rich in sweets.