Ode To Twinkie

Thirteen year old son and I sped through town like our lives depended on it.  In total, we hit five convenience stores and one major food store.  No, we weren’t pulling a Bonnie and Clyde, heisting these stops for cash.  But it felt like it.  With hearts racing, we considered all manner of threats at our disposal to get what we wanted.  We were desperate to find a single, traditional, gorgeous, Twinkie – the icon of my childhood.

My father was the first to break the news to me.  “Are you in mourning?” he asked, and went on to detail the tragic shut-down of Hostess, Inc.  I could scarcely believe my ears.

Those who have known me only since adulthood will be shocked to hear of my intense and solemn reaction to this news.  I haven’t eaten sugar, much less a processed treat, in fifteen years or more.  But for the twenty years prior, junk food comprised the majority of my diet.  So fond was I of Hostess snacks that a friend in college bought me boxes of them as a birthday gift.

For years I have chosen not to indulge, but now, being told that I can’t ever have another Hostess fix, well, that’s a new ball game altogether.

Just last week in the grocery store, nine year old daughter lamented that she had never tasted a Twinkie.  I refused her request on the grounds that we already had too much candy in the house from Halloween.  “Maybe after the holidays I’ll buy one for you,” I half-promised.  Little did I know that she may never get the chance to experience the joy of a Hostess cake. This is the real reason, I rationalized, for my frenzied search.  How could I live with myself if my youngest daughter never tasted a Twinkie?

Beagle was all too willing to join in the fun, pleased as punch to conspire with his ridiculously health-conscious mother in the hunt for junk food.  “I’ve never seen this side of you.” He said with amusement.

At one stop, Beagle tried bribing the young clerk for one of the last eight Twinkies he had cleared from the store shelf for himself.  “Nope, I’m freezing them for later.” The clerk coldly informed.  And I couldn’t blame him.  Every man for himself in cases such as these.

Our efforts yielded a sparse assortment of Hostess cakes – enough for each family member to sample only a slice of each.  During a bittersweet ceremony befitting deceased royalty, we consumed our plate of goodness.  We nibbled with respect, sharing memories of our first Twinkie encounter, voting on our favorite cake, and lamenting our future loss.  It felt as if my childhood was being ripped away bite by bite.

I had considered saving one Twinkie for posterity.  But then I remembered that I’m all grown up, sort of.  And contrary to urban myth, Twinkies do have an expiration date.  Succumb we must to reality.  It appears that Tallahasse (in Zombieland) was right when he predicted, “There’s a box of Twinkies in that grocery store.  Not just any box of Twinkies, the last box of Twinkies that anyone will enjoy in the whole universe.”

Sad, sad, times.

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