The Hershey’s Kisses I didn’t eat at the Jay House

One of the several inviting containers of Hershey's Kisses at the Jay House

One of the several inviting containers of Hershey's Kisses at the Jay House

Whew. That was a tough one.

About a month ago I went to the Jay Heritage Center in Rye for the first time. I met John, who does maintenance at the site, and we had a lovely conversation about history. He offered to give me a tour, and I’d arranged to take him up on that offer today.

John started giving me his tour, and then some other folks showed up. It turns out that they were from France, and were doing some historical sightseeing before they headed back. We all followed along as John told us about the sleuthing that had gone into the reconstruction of the building. Unfortunately I had two distractions.

My first problem was sleepiness. I was yawning and fidgeting nearly nonstop, and since the context brought the late eighteenth century to mind, I couldn’t help worrying that, at any given moment, I was probably violating at least one of George Washington’s Rules of Civility. I was able to mitigate the sleepiness by drinking some of the tea in the thermos I’d brought with me. But this probably just exacerbated the main problem.

On shelves throughout the house sat the second problem: Hershey’s Kisses. Hershey’s Kisses wrapped with festive colors, there for the taking.

See, free food sort of breaks my brain. I find it difficult to explain, but there it is: when there’s food just there for the taking, it triggers an obsessiveness in me that makes the eating of the food seem nearly imperative.

So I spent a lot of time distractedly glancing over at the Hershey’s Kisses and vacillating between thinking about taking a handful, and resolving not to. The outcome was very close; I probably would have caved if I hadn’t talked myself down: I kept telling myself that I was not missing out on some great cost-saving opportunity, because if I wanted some Hershey’s Kisses I could just go to CVS and spend a couple of bucks on a bag. Since I knew that I’d had no thought in my head of buying any Kisses at the moment before I saw the free ones, the compulsion that erupted within me was clearly irrational.

So I made it out of there without eating a single Hershey’s Kiss. I feel good about that. And when I consider how good those Hamantashen at Zaro’s in Grand Central looked last night, and that I didn’t buy any, I feel even better. I think I’m almost fully recovered from the holiday crazies.

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