Peppermint Pigs, Not Pickles

Peppermint PigsI still remember about two decades ago being amazed that a Christmas enthusiast such as myself had never heard of Peppermint Pigs—hard-candy peppermint (pig-shaped of course) broken into sharable pieces for good luck in the new year. I also recall learning about the Christmas Pickle, but due to studio ventilation issues at the time, I opted for pig models over vinegar.😉

I enjoyed creating this piece a few years back for my talented friend, DS Levy. ‘Twas my first crack at a peppermint family🎄 click to check out DS Levy’s creative mind!

magical words, miraculous changes

it has been said
passed down from yuletide lips
Charles Dickens saved Christmas
not the man, ’twas the book
his story, we all know
if you don’t (your library copy might have gotten jammed in an 1843 chimney)

Industrial Revolution spinning at warp-speed
factory holidays are ghost shadows
we are living in the fast-pacing present–more is better
our dull, simple past soiled with slumming traditions–less was less
one floor above sweating basement workers, the future appears bright and shiny
a young boy’s father gets locked up in debtors’ prison
the child Charles, now forced to labor in a “rat-infested boot-blackening factory”

these formidable memories haunt Dickens

I imagine Charles back then
beneath winter’s moonlight
childhood terrors like bony hands slamming rusted leonine door knockers
he summons these all-too-vivid specters to do battle with his benevolent muse
the war won
A Christmas Carol is born

“…in 1867 Dickens reads A Christmas Carol. One of the audience members,
Mr. Fairbanks (a scale manufacturer) was so moved that he decided to break custom
and give his workers Christmas Day off and not only did he close the factory,
he gave turkeys to all his employees.”

magical words can inspire hearts to make miraculous changes

Little Tree

Little Tree

Charles Dickens, true to his words became an exceptional philanthropist. “…the welfare of the nation’s children was at the top of his list of concerns, and he used his pen and his considerable dramatic and oratorical powers to raise awareness of the plight of poor children and to raise money for children’s charities…”

sources in order of quoted appearance: Uncle John’s, Christmas Collection (yes, the Bathroom Reader, please don’t judge where I sometimes read😉), charlesdickensinfo.com, hharp.org

if my little poetry book love of the monster helps one heart, that would be a gift I’d keep trying to give😘

Job Box

Long ago
letters were thoughtless
compartmentalized
in walls of wood
lined in metal
alone as they were
dull

strung together
blossomed
broad thoughts
narrow concepts
soft guilt
hard passion

letters
singular
sideways upside down
gathering residue
together
prescient

wipe clean
return home
job box
alone again
’til evenings events
rally
once more
job boxMay you dream of beautiful transient letters making gorgeous journeys…

Above: Long ago, individual metal letters for traditional typesetting were kept organized in job boxes. The boxes were actually drawers that slid into a larger metal cabinet. Today, these boxes are considered antiques. I was given a plain wooden job box in exchange for a painting I did for someone. I painted the box and added my kiddies plastic toys, when they no longer had need of them. 🙂

Of Peppermint Pigs and Promises

16 years ago I learned about a 134-year-old tradition. The giant husband and I were dining with friends over the Christmas holiday when someone produced a small satchel. From the pouch fell a little hard candy, pink pig. It was explained that the candy pig was broken into sharable pieces for good luck in the new year. She told me breaking a Peppermint Pig was a longtime tradition. I was quite amazed that a Christmas enthusiast such as myself had never heard of a Peppermint Pig. The following year I learned about the Christmas Pickle…
Here’s a link to The New York Times article, if you’d like to read about the Peppermint Pig’s sweet history.
Peppermint PigsNow there’s another reason for this post. A few weeks back I promised a wonderful friend I’d show her how to draw a pig. So Deb, as promised, please see sketch below. It’s all about seeing the basic shapes and once you can see the shapes you will become a pig master 🙂
How to Pig