*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
Did you ever live with someone who counted everything in the house?
My grandmother could tell you at any given moment how many doors and windows were in the house where she lived. She could also give you the number of forks, knives, and spoons in her drawer and cups, plates, and glasses in her cupboard.
If you wanted a running tally of eggs or strips of bacon, she could give you that, too.
I never lived with my grandmother, but my mother sure did; plus I visited her plenty. So I knew all about her counting things. All the things.
When Christmastime came around each year, my grandmother put a perfectly portioned number of Hershey's Kisses into a glass candy bowl for her guests. Grandma would count the kisses before they came and then again after they left both for an updated tally and to determine just how many kisses her company had consumed.
It wasn't just Hershey's Kisses. She counted all the candy, using the results to decide what kind was most popular and which she should restock for her visitors.
One Christmas, my father decided to play a little trick on my grandmother. He took some of her Christmas candy and hid it in his pocket when she wasn't looking. Then he asked her how many pieces of candy she had in the bowl.
My grandmother assured him she knew exactly how many she had, and my father said he'd count them for her "just to be sure." Much to my grandmother's astonishment, she was wrong about every type of candy. It was inconceivable.
She had been so careful.
When my grandmother wasn't looking again, my father sneaked all the candy back into the proper bowls and prompted her to count them again. My grandmother couldn't have been more confused. Now, there was extra candy.
Missing Hershey's Kisses could simply mean she had a Hershey's Kiss aficionado in the house. But extra? "Where did they come from?" my grandmother asked aloud.
My father finally admitted he was playing a trick on her, and they had a good laugh.
The next year when my father visited her for Christmas, he brought a handful of Hershey's Kisses from home and added them to the candy dish.
He thought when my grandmother performed her recount, it would be too high. That would be mind-boggling.
My father could not wait for my grandmother to recount the kisses and play his little joke on her for the second year in a row. But this year, the joke was on him.
When my father asked her to count the candy, she replied, "No. When I knew you were coming over, I decided not to count them at all. There will be no counting today!" She crossed her arms and nodded her head, content that she had gotten the best of him.
It was all good fun, but I'm glad my grandmother got the last laugh.
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