Just before Christmas over a year ago, Twinkies were pulled off the market.
And I cried.
Because I thought I'd never see them again and I couldn't bear that thought. When I was little, I would watch for my father to come home from work every day. The sight of his familiar short-waisted grey wool coat would send me tearing out of my front door and down the road like a horse from a gate. I’d run down the front steps, holding onto the railing so I wouldn't fall and I'd go, not thinking about temperature, rain, shoes on or not, crying out his name, "Papa!” He'd see me and stand still. He would smirk, knowing just why I had run down to meet him.
Grabbing the speckled grey lunch box from his hands, I’d unclasp the firemen’s latches and look for what he always had inside the bucket for me: a set of my panecitos, Spanish for "my little breads." That's what I'd call them, but they were Twinkies. I couldn't read yet and to my four-year-old eyes, the two golden cakes side by side in a clear package were tiny loaves of bread to me, albeit with delicious cream inside. I wondered why they didn't make the large loaves of bread with this same kind of filling. My Papa knew I loved Twinkies, and he’d save the tiny package of two for me out of his daily lunch. Every day. I had no doubt how important I was to him - his delight in me was clear. He told me not with words, but with the grandest of actions, letting me know he thought of me in his day.
I ran to greet my father after a long day's work for far too short a time. Much too short for a little girl who adored him. He died suddenly when I was in the first grade; a shocking, unexpected suicide. His death so abrupt that no one could get me to stop looking out of our front screen door, waiting for him to come walking down the street, swinging his lunch box.
After his death, I would ask my grandmother to fix my lunch with my "little breads." And she would. She'd set up a small saucer, one Twinkie in the center, and a miniature cup of coffee -- the scene looked exactly the way it did when I'd sit and share my panecitos, my little breads, with my father, who'd carefully slice the little loaves and pretend it was toast.
Knowing this, you can imagine how I gasped that day when I heard the television reports that the makers of Twinkie would be no more. No more panecitos. I went to the store the morning I heard the news and bought the remaining Twinkies on the Hostess shelves, two boxes of 12. But I didn't like having them all at once and knowing there would soon be an end to my supply of 24 filled me with even more sadness than if I had none.
But then in January, I saw the golden bread again. I had gone to the drug store and while I stood in line near the cash register, my mouth dropped open. There with the other snack items, was a single pack of Twinkies! There were Twinkies! The golden loaves of doll-sized bread were back on the store's shelves after the longest months I can remember. I cried at the sight of their beautiful golden color in the same way I cried when I heard they would be no more.
I brought the single package of two home, and sat, in the midst of memories. Every day since, these little loaves of bread are part of my day. I drop my youngest off at school and I stop at the store on my way back home. I pick up my pack of two, my side by side panecitos. From the cabinet at home I pick out a saucer and set out my coffee. Then, I sit down for breakfast with my father.
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