9/1/22

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

My family and I have set up a chat amongst ourselves on Facebook Messenger. Populated by my husband, my sons, my daughters, my daughter-cuz-I-like-her-and-she’s-been-around-forever, and me, the chat was primarily set up to discuss the game Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch, which we all play. But every now and then, or actually, more than every now and then, we drift off topic. One day last week, the topic got a bit heated.

My daughter Olivia loves Halloween. She started talking in the chat about what she might dress up as this year, and how she’d like to decorate her room, and eventually, she made the exclamation, “I think Halloween should last for four months!”

Most of us were disgruntled by the fact that Halloween stuff was appearing in the stores in August. My son Andy called it a capitalist Hellscape. I said that if you’re so focused on a holiday that is so far away, you’re missing what’s happening right now. Rayne, my daughter-cuz-I-like-her, told Olivia the world is her oyster and she should do whatever makes her happy. Andy eventually declared The End, and we went on to other subjects.

I have to admit, I’ve never understood the phrase, “The world is your oyster.” I don’t want an oyster. Unless they are oyster crackers. I like oyster crackers.

But this conversation popped back into my mind a few days later, when my husband came home from grocery shopping. “Oh, I forgot to tell you,” he said. “The new harvest of Orange Oreos is in.”

“No!” I said. “It’s too early! They’re likely not ripe yet!”

“I looked them all over,” he said. “I made sure none of them were yellowy. Only the most orange ones came home.”

I gave a cheer and ran to the snack cabinet.

So what is this then?

It’s Orange Oreo season. But I have to be clear – for me, it has nothing to do with Halloween. It has everything to do with the orange.

A week or so ago, I saw a conversation under a post on Facebook about how someone refused to eat some mint ice cream because it wasn’t green. “Mint ice cream has to be green,” this someone said. There were quite a few SMHs (which I just learned what that means last week too) and disparaging comments. I stayed quiet. I think mint ice cream should be green too. Speckled with brown chocolate chips.

Color means a lot.

I don’t remember exactly when Orange Oreos first came out, but I do clearly remember standing enamored in the cookie aisle of the grocery store. I brought them home and a love affair was born. In many of my short stories and almost all of my novels, Orange Oreos appear. The first story I wrote which had Orange Oreos in it actually featured the cookie in a major way. It is called Marriage In Orange, and I wrote it in 2007, so I assume the cookie came out around then. I rarely eat any other kind of Oreo. And there are a bajillion kinds of Oreos now, a far cry from the original white stuffed cookie I used to eat accompanied by milk when I was a kid. I was very much an adult when Orange Oreos came out. And I have been known to buy many packages and put them in the freezer so that I can have them long after they disappear from the shelves.

What makes them so special? I have no idea. I have to repeat, since we just had the raucous discussion in Facebook Messenger, that this has nothing to do with Halloween. I ate these cookies for years before I realized there were Halloween shapes stamped into the cookie parts. The packages often come with a Halloween word, like “Booooo!” on the cellophane wrapper. That all goes right over my head.

It’s all about the orange.

Do they taste like orange? Not in the citrus sense, no. But they taste like the color orange should taste. Many argue that they taste just like the regular original Oreo. I disagree. They taste BETTER. They taste ORANGE.

Some would say that it’s no accident that they come out at the end of summer, because of Halloween on the horizon. Again, I disagree. They come out at the end of summer, when we’re on the cusp of fall and cooler weather and leaves turning all different colors, including…orange. There will soon be frost on the pumpkin, and pumpkins are…orange. The Orange Oreo, with its black cookie and orange stuffing, is perfect to sit down with on an afternoon, the wind chimes singing with a breeze smelling of fall. You can put on a sweater and sit outside, joining the cookie with a hot, hot, hot cup of coffee. And you can feel not too hot and not too cold, there is no snow, there are no mosquitos, the sun is bright, the sky is blue, and, like a child with an after-school snack, you can relax in perfection of temperature and taste and comfort.

So.

Olivia loves Halloween.

I love Orange Oreos.

Her Halloween can last for three months, since it starts in August.

My Orange Oreos can last for a huge part of the year, if I gather enough packages and don’t overstuff my freezer.

Hm.

I guess the world is our o(reo)yster.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

The perfect snack!

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