Candyland Therapy

"Wannoo play a gdame of Tandyland wis me?"
I haven't heard those words in probably six or seven years. Gracie has just recently found her new favorite game---the timeless "Candyland". She pulled the well-loved game out of the attic and has gotten nearly everyone to play with her. Except me. I guess she knew I was due for a good old round of Sugarworld...I mean Candyland.
I wasn't feeling good. A bad mood seemed to have settled in, and I found myself scowling. I looked and felt a mess. I'd just come in from feeding sixteen puppies and supervising the cleaning out of five rain-soaked kennels. Talk about enough to ruin one's appetite for life. I felt like the last thing I wanted to do was play a board game---all I really wanted to do was escape to my room and write and listen to music in peace.
"Sure." The word automatically popped out of my mouth and I half wondered if it had been someone else who'd said it. "Jus' lemme change my pants." I hadn't tucked the legs of my overalls into my mudboots, so of course, when all the puppies wanted to love me, their wet, sloppy little paws left wet, sloppy little signatures clean up to my knees.
"What tolor d'you wanna be?"
"It doesn't matter. You pick."
"Ok! There's red, and blue, and yellow, and green, and they're all boys, but..." She continued talking on, but I only heard parts, cause I had snuck into the bathroom to get rid of my mud-enhanced overalls. I stared at myself in the mirror momentarily while I was in there. My bangs were flat, my hair looked awful, and my acne was coming back. The shirt I had on did little to help my looked boyish, with a faded picture of Snoopy walking across the front. I'm a mess, I mouthed to myself, in rather a tone of acceptance, as if signing myself to my fate with an "Oh well" attitude.
By the time I came back out, Gracie had the entire game set up and was waiting expectantly. I plopped myself on the floor and examined everything. The board was split down the middle and had been duct taped a long time ago, and the edges were worn soft. The cards curled slightly from being shuffled so many times. The plastic people were about the only things that looked the way they probably had in the beginning. Maybe just a tad bit discolored.
Gracie handed me the stack of cards. "You gotta..." She waved her hand in a fast circle. " 'um."
Wow, I thought, I'm getting the privilege of shuffling. Dad always used to shuffle. My mind flashed back close to a decade ago. I saw my parents, my three brothers and I lounging on the big bed in Dad and Mom's room. I was usually either the yellow piece or the red piece. The boys always fought over the blue and green pieces. Dad would shuffle the cards, and then pull them for each person's turn. It was far too crazy to let each of us pull our own cards.
"Ok. You go first," I told Gracie. It was easier than trying to decided by other methods who was to get the first turn. After all, I'm almost eighteen...I am far beyond arguing over the first turn! So, mustering up all the maturity I could handle within a board game meant for toddlers, I took the second turn.
The game moved along swiftly for the first twenty or so turns. We both got color cards each time, and I miraculously got ahead. I wondered where all the character cards were. They had to be in there somewhere. Shortly after I passed Princess Lolly, I pulled out my next card...
Gasp! "I got Queen Frostine!!!!!" I slid my piece along the road of rainbow squares to the little pink one with the snowflake on it. King Kandy's Kastle was looking closer than it ever had.
Amazing! I just might win this game!! In all my little kid years of playing Candyland, I had only won about once. I caught on at about the six hundredth game...I couldn't win for the life of me. I don't if the the board and I had some sort of magnetic disagreement or something, but no matter what, I never won.
My excitement deflated, however, when I realized that Queen Frostine was the only character card that had been drawn. So that meant that somewhere, lurking within the pile, were the other ones. I got a sinking inner feeling about getting one of those cards and having to go back.
Maybe I should have taken them out, I thought. That's what Mom and Dad always did. They had to, or else with four kids all under the age of seven, the game would have taken all night.
Sure enough, when I was one space away from King Kandy's, I drew my next card, hoping for a purple. No such luck.
Gramma Nutt.
Gracie giggled and I groaned as I tromped back to the house of peanut brittle. At least she's a kind looking old lady.
The end of the pile came and I re-shuffled them. This time, Queen Frostine decided to shed her fluffy, frozen delight on Gracie. And I got to go spend some time with Plumpy, down by the gingerbread plum trees. Say, why don't we have any of those? Talk about natural sugar! Somebody find me a gingerbread plum tree please!
I analyzed the situation and laughed at myself. Gracie was winning and I was still making my way through the Peppermint Forest. Same song, second verse.
Gracie had one square left, and about five cards in a row weren't the ones she needed. Of course, if you know anything about Candyland, you'll know that a purple square is needed to win the game. I inched my way up past the gumdrop guy (I forget what his name is at the moment), one square at a time. We hadn't even gotten through three-quarters of the stack when Gracie got a purple card.
I had to explain to her that she didn't need a card with King Kandy on it to win. She won with the purple card, because that was the last square she could go on. Funny now, I remember thinking exactly the same thing...why wasn't there a card for King Kandy, or at least one more square denoting the winning spot on the board?
Oh, well. She won anyways. Just as I was trying to sneak by Lord Licorice's castle. Never liked that guy. Why does the evil looking guy have to be made out of licorice? I like licorice.
I had to laugh at myself again. My Candyland legacy lives on. I remain the girl that can never win.
"You wanna play uh-den??"
"Ohhh, no thanks, Gracie. I think I'm good for today."
And you know what? I really think I was.

Written September 28, 2007
(c)Hannah M.



  1. This was great! :) You sure know how to keep someones attention, Hannah. I really appreciate you're writing style - simple, creative, and very-effectively-point-driving - all wrapped up quite whimsically.
    So...all that said, enrapturing short story, and fun too. ;) This is going to be a wonderful blog. After all, the authors wonderful! :D

  2. I sympathize, Hanner.... I never used to win that game. I always managed to draw Plumpy, just at the end. :-P


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