Often times in life we do things that are not wise, intelligent, or even in our best interest. We get so involved with the idea of instant gratification that we don’t realize that our actions could be as harmful as losing our life over it.
Easton was a small boy who had the idea that peppermint was worth dying for, literally! Every Sunday morning we would show up early to church in our typical chaotic fashion. There were six young children at the time and each of them had their own agenda when we walked through the doors of the church. Some would take off running to find their friends, others would head in to listen to the music, and yet some would stay right by our side the entire time. Easton would stay close at hand until he had his escape fully planned and then he would stealthily slip away. Easton wasn’t allowed to run around and find his friends. Not without adult supervision! Easton suffered from “peppermintality” syndrome. Now, I know this isn’t a real disease or sickness, but he was obsessed with the idea of consuming peppermints in mass quantities. We had asked every usher we could find to not give Easton any candy because he had a tendency to choke on it. Easton always tried to stay one step ahead though. Nothing was going to keep him from getting a piece of peppermint candy if he thought he could without detection. I began to question if he wasn’t somehow addicted to peppermint.
The ushers would pass out peppermints as a small gesture of welcoming the people as they arrived to church. The people who served as ushers and greeters would change weekly and Easton learned how to work this to his advantage. He knew which ones we had discussed our concerns with and he would target the poor unsuspecting ushers whom we had not. Easton would get his peppermint candy and quickly run to a secluded place, unwrap the candy, and toss it into his mouth to enjoy all of the pleasures a peppermint could possibly bring. Too many times his ecstasy would be short lived. Somehow, he would swallow the candy and it would get lodged in his throat, causing him to begin choking. For a child who wasn’t very verbal, this game of charades had high stakes and consequences. Easton would rush around trying to get someones attention, usually not the usher, but another guardian angel who would have to help him and sometimes even perform the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the peppermint. This happened far too many times for comfort and each time Easton would promise to kick his candy addiction. This “peppermintality” was serious! He knew what could happen, yet he constantly went back for more. He was willing to roll the dice as to whether he would get choked or not. Enough close calls finally got the attention of the head usher and the decision was made to ban the passing out of candy to small children. Of course, a little wisdom could of been applied sooner, but who knew a kid could be addicted to peppermints to the point they would continually return and knowingly ask for more after they had had too many close calls?
That inevitable moment in church life had arrived and it was a sad day for many of the congregation who depended on the mints for their own comforting moments, while others wondered how they could continue on without mints to mask their pungent coffee breath. The day the candy would disappear from the pockets of the ushers and greeters was jokingly referred to as, “The Easton Rule.” I’m sure parishioners both young and old grieved this day along with the local dentist. For us, the parents of a child that suffered from “peppermintality,” it was a beautiful day.