Reviled by purists, but loved by anyone who wants a hit of nostalgia, not to mention loads of sugar, I am staring at a bag full of M&Ms: peanut, regular chocolate, dark chocolate, and peanut butter. There is also a pack of Twix and Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds candy bars. They remind me of the loot fresh from balikbayan boxes from our aunts or when my dad would come home from long overseas trips.
My father has a ferocious chocolate tooth, which we've diagnosed as a result of his deprivation of any sweets when he was a kid (he lived through a war for heaven's sake!). On his recent foray to the US, he demolished a box of See's chocolates, and then was also caught eating another box of chocolate at my sister's place. My sister said she couldn't help smiling at his enjoyment, but agrees he can't be left with another box lying around. He's diabetic!
He is also quite fond of making excuses about bad eating habits and not wanting to stop smoking. Since he's made it past his 80's he will tell us off when we remind him not to eat sugary stuff and to stop smoking (a long standing epic battle I'd been fighting since I was 6 - fruitless though it may be). His favorite rationalization is "Deng Xiao Ping smoked and lived to be in his 90's!" My dad loves to raise the specter of creaky or dead Communist leaders as examples whenever he wants to get his way. I don't think Deng or Mao or Zhou himself stashed boxes of Almond Roca in his closets, or kept bags of Kisses in his personal refrigerator (he'd portion out his supply and the ones he'd let us get our mittens on. Woe betide any of us who tried to weasel our way into his personal stash. He would gladly share though, so long as we asked. And watched his chinese soap operas with him. What a choice to make!)
He comes home after being away for 6 weeks, probably laden with enough chocolate to kill whatever is left of his kidneys. We'll have to find a way to gently persuade him to put most of it away for rainy days. Before then, I'll let a yellow M&M melt in my mouth (not in my hand of course) and remember my favorite dad moments.