By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Ah Christmas! Here you are once again. Ask any kid and I’m willing to bet their favorite holiday is Christmas (followed closely by their birthday). A lot of adults will agree for various reasons that Christmas is one of their most enjoyable holidays as well. We all have a story to share about this wonderful holiday; however, here is one that is sometimes less popular amongst our story sharing. It is the story of the candy cane.
The candy cane didn’t always appear as it does today. This treat was developed in Germany approximately two hundred and fifty years ago and had a slightly different appearance. The traditional hook shape swirled with alternating white and red stripes was once a straight white sugar stick. One story says in 1670 a choirmaster was concerned children would be disruptive during a nativity reenactment, so he wanted to provide them with something to occupy their mind (and their mouth)! This choirmaster wanted the candies to symbolize something from the nativity program, so he shaped them like the staffs the shepherds carried as they followed the star to baby Jesus in the manger. Contradictory, basic math tells us the candy cane didn’t evolve until some two hundred years later, so while inventive and effective, the story of the choirmaster may or may not be true!
Around the year 1900, the red stripes were added, along with peppermint or wintergreen flavoring. Other Christmas meanings can be relevant to the candy cane, such as the letter J for Jesus, the white for the purity of Christ, and the red for His bloodshed for our sins on the cross. The peppermint flavor can also resemble the hyssop plant used to purify The Holy Bible.
In 1920, Georgia resident Bob McCormack began producing these treats for family and friends. Gaining vastly in popularity, this resulted in his business’ debut as “Bob’s Candies”. His brother-in-law, and Catholic Priest, Gregory Harding Keller later invented an apparatus deemed “The Keller Machine” to shape these sugar sticks into the candy cane. This business remained in production until 2005 when it was then purchased by Farley and Sathers, who luckily remain in the candy cane business
Candy canes may be present in a long list of things people will ramble off when asked about what Christmas means to them. The Parsons Advocate set out in the community with several random holiday related questions to spread the Christmas Spirit and interact with our readers.
- Who would you most want to cook your Christmas Meal? “My Mother and Sisters we all dive in and tackle it and we have a great time.”, Charity Phillips
- What would you do if you saw Mama kissing Santa Claus? “I would scream!”, Paityn Clower, age 7
- Which Christmas Ghost would you least like to see? “Ghost of Christmas Future, I want to be surprised!” Tammy Robinson
- Do you go shopping on Black Friday? “No, I mainly do Cyber Monday so I don’t have to fight the crowds and can shop in my pajamas.”, Helen Dent
- Is there a “Cousin Eddy” in your family? “My brother”, anonymous (I wonder why!)
- Have you ever been caught snooping in presents? “Yes”, Trevin Davis, age 5
- What is your favorite Christmas movie? “A Christmas Story”, Joe Owens
- If you could spend Christmas anywhere, where would it be? “In a glass cabin to watch the Northern Lights”, Trista C.
- How much do you think Santa Claus weighs? “300 pounds”, Ashly Bush
- If you were on the Island of Misfit Toys, what toy would you be? “I would be a flat ball” (no fun), Samantha
- Do you leave any treats for the reindeer? “Carrots! And this year we are going to try making reindeer cookies”, Sylvia Owens
- Who would you be at Jesus’ birth? “An angel”, Adaleigh, age 5
- Have you ever re-gifted? “Yes, I often give gifts I receive to people that visit that were not on my shopping list”, anonymous
- Do you like eggnog? “No”, Emma Moore
- What is your favorite Christmas Tradition? “Fried oysters”, Mark Freeman
- How many geese were laying? “I don’t know, five?”, Sarah Clower
- Real or fake Christmas tree? “I prefer a real tree, I like the smell it makes throughout the house”,
- Vickie Clower
- What is your favorite Christmas carol? “Carol of the Bells”, Cheyann Gooden, age 14
- If you were an elf, what would your job be? “Make presents”, Wyatt Clower, age 4
- Which reindeer is your favorite? “Dasher”, Shelby Gooden, age 16
- Do you sleep in or wake up early to open presents? “Wake up early”, Adalynn Combs, age 6
- What is on your Christmas list? “A dump truck and also a monster truck”, Garlend Combs, age 5
- If your best friend stuck his/her tongue on a flag pole, what would you do? “Laugh, call them an idiot, and rip their tongue off the pole”, Ben Gooden
- What is your favorite Christmas memory? “The year I got saved and learned the true meaning of Christmas”, Reverend Pat Cassidy
- What is your favorite Christmas ornament? “The angel on top of the tree”, Brianna Gooden, age 13
- Can you name all of the reindeer? “Dasher, Dancer, Rudolph, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen…..” Benjamin Gooden, age 10 (with the help of his older sister).
- If you were an elf, what would your job be? “I would probably be the supervisor determine what goes where and who gets what…or the gift determiner”, The Honorable Judge Lynn Nelson
- What character from any Christmas movie would you be? “Clarice, the girl deer from Rudolph”, Delainey, age 7
- Are you a careful un-wrapper or a ripper? “I rip them open”, Ashlynn, age 7
- What is your favorite kind of pie? “I like lime with that whip cream topping that’s like a little roasted”, Autumn Russell, age 13
- Have you ever gotten everything on your Christmas list? “I never got everything I wanted but that’s OK, I still love Christmas!” Alaina Owens, age 8
- How much do you think Santa weighs? “Five pounds”, Natalie Owens, age 4
- What kind of cookies do you like to leave for Santa? “Oatmeal raisin, because they are probably his favorite!” Hunter Beth Lipscomb, age 4
- Can you name all of the reindeer? “No, I cannot”, as he proceeds to try. “Rudolph! Prancer, Dancer, Vixen I think”, Commissioner Lowell Moore
- What is your favorite Christmas ornament? “Probably my ornament I bought at the Kentucky Horse Park”, Becky Polomski
- Do you prefer a star or an angel as a tree topper? “An angel”, Donna Moore
- If you could add one feature to Santa’s sleigh, what would it be? “A Yeti cooler”, Magistrate Riley Barb
- Have you ever forgotten or misplaced a gift to find it later? “Yes!”, Sheila Devilder
- Do you have a competitive Christmas Spirit? “No, less is better to me”, Butch DiBacco
- What character from any Christmas movie would you be? “Ralphie” (said without hesitation) Attorney Pat Nichols
- What is your favorite pie? “Coconut cream”, Commissioner Elect Fred Davis
- Multi-color lights or all one color? (after a long thought out debate between spouses) “Multi-color on a house and if a tree has just ornaments, just colored. If the tree has bows or flowers, just white. Oh, and my favorite are those big multi-color old fashioned lights!”, County Administrator Joel and Cindy Goughnour
- When do you decorate for Christmas? “It’s in stages. It starts after Thanksgiving and we decorate as time allows”, Dennis Filler, County Planner
- When do you really get into the Christmas spirit? “The day after Thanksgiving. My oldest son was born on Christmas morning”, Sherry Simmons, County Clerk
- And last but not least….quite possibly the best response to all of the questions comes from retired State Trooper Kevin Keplinger.
- What is your biggest Christmas disaster? “Well we packaged up my wallet with my ID and badge in a box with trash. Me and my son was out shooting bow and arrow at the boxes and something stopped the arrow. Upon further investigation it was my wallet!”
We hope you have enjoyed hearing some fun, sincere, and memorable responses to our random Christmas questions for 2018. From all of us at The Parsons Advocate, we wish you a Merry Christmas!