It began with an email. Late Sunday evening, an email in my inbox with the subject, “Five pound favor, please.” I was on the receiving end of chuckles from colleagues every time I recounted the story. Was it not believable? Was it too far from the norm?
And then the box arrived. A perfect cube. Two foot by two foot by two foot. Except for its size, totally inconspicuous in a normal, brown cardboard box. Two layers of packing bubbles hid the goods. Oh, no the corner of the bag was open! White and teal orbs peeked out from around the bag. Fortunately for me the box had arrived early. I had some leisure time to study the size and shape. How would it be best to repack this package for its safe trip to Florida?
On the day of the flight I had my typical early morning pre-dawn arrival at the Des Moines International Airport. My boarding pass and ID were verified in the TSA pre-check line. Easy peasey! No waiting! My phone was in the bowl. My two carry-on bags were on the conveyor belt as I strolled through the scanner. No hands over head. No stopping to hold a pose. The line was moving quickly, quietly, efficiently! And then the line slowed. The man in front of me had his carry-on bag inspected by hand. I saw the location of his bag as my items slowly emerged on the conveyor belt. Phone, check. Computer bag, check. I held my breath. Oh, no, the turquoise carry-on bag was pulled off the line to be inspected.
Darn it. All because of my favor. I wish I could have seen how indistinguishable that item looked in the top of my bag. A Thermos lunch bag cooler, five pounds of teal and white candies inside, carefully cocooned in two layers of bubble wrap to keep them from crumbling and occupying approximately one-third of the space in my carry-on bag.
Have you ever wondered about which candy is most popular? The Mars company claims its M&Ms® are the most popular chocolate candy in the world. The coated candies were created in the 1930s in order to add a chocolate candy to soldiers’ meals that would not melt. How are they made? The candies begin as liquid chocolate poured into tiny molds. They are then “tumbled” to make the chocolate center smooth and rounded. After they harden, a liquid chocolate and corn syrup coating is sprayed on them. Multiple coats. Multiple drying times. The color is the very last coat that is applied. You can read more about how M&Ms® are made here. Additional factoids about M&Ms® can be found through google searches. I wondered how many M&Ms® were in my five pound package? At one point, I had around 2500 M&Ms® in my possession.
My favor, requested by my favorite younger sister, was to deliver five pounds of teal and white M&Ms® for my favorite oldest Florida nephew’s graduation party. The company would not ship them in May to Davie, Florida because of the fear of melting. So after a 1500 mile special delivery trip, here is what the hand stamped M&Ms® looked like and why a TSA screener in Iowa is still asking his peers, “Did you know that M&Ms® could be printed with a picture on them and all kinds of other sayings?”
Have you had personalized M&Ms®? Did you ever wonder about their creation? Or their delivery to their final destination? What stories could your M&Ms® tell?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Visual structures of this draft of the essay above based on my current understanding of Chapter 3: The Journey is Everything.
- The favor – 5 paragraphs
- M&Ms® – 1 paragraph
- Questions for readers – 1 paragraph
- Introduction to the favor – 1
- The story- 3 paragraphs
- M&Ms® – 1
- The specifics of the favor – 1
- Questions for readers – 1
- The mystery – 2 paragraphs
- DSM airport story (the mystery continues) – 2 paragraphs
- M&Ms® – 1
- The favor revealed (including picture) – 1
- Questions for readers – 1
- The Favor
- Mini-story – hint (2 paragraphs)
- Explicit reveal (with picture)
- Involve reader with questions