Just last night while lying in bed with my Great Dane, flannel pajamas and the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Carol” playing, I sipped hot chocolate from my favorite Rudolph mug, the one with the chip on it. The aroma of the miniature marshmallows melting, slowly being pulled under by the creamy warm froth of chocolate, sent my mind wandering all the way back to the winter when one of my childhood wishes came true.
Mama always loved putting a small pot of warm milk on the stove and mixing in the sugary delicious brown cocoa powder from the Hershey’s Swiss Miss hot chocolate box she kept close by. Barely tall enough to see over the countertops while standing on my tiptoes, I remember her giving me a turn stirring the marshmallows into the simmering pot while she hummed “Silver Bells.”
With each sip of hot chocolate last night, I shut my eyes while the sounds of Ebenezer Scrooge and my 140-pound dog snoring faded into the background as I traveled all the way back to Dykes Chapel Road with Mama in her kitchen. I wish I had lived more in those moments, slowed time down a bit more to savor them. I would have held more carefully the Santa mugs she painted herself in ceramics class earlier that year or perhaps not sipped my hot chocolate so hurriedly. We drank so much of it one year that Mama saved all the UPC codes from the back of the boxes, filled out my name on the order form, inserted a personal check for some amount I don’t recall, and “sent off” for my very own Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate doll.
Oh, imagine the squeals of delight the day I pulled open the metal door on the old mailbox by the road to see the box with the new doll inside.
She had yellow hair made from the brightest yarn, a light blue dress with a white lace apron, and the biggest blue eyes I had ever seen. The Swiss Miss doll went with me everywhere—to Sunday school, downtown Richton to the old pharmacy where Daddy made sure my root beer float had extra sprinkles, and even to bed with me on cold nights. I have Polaroid photographs of me as a little blonde-haired boy sitting in the yard with one hand on my dog George, the other on my doll.
I wonder what ever happened to Miss Swiss Miss. I have not seen her in years, but I don’t have to live without her completely because all I need is a cup of hot chocolate with miniature marshmallows to keep the memory deliciously alive.
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