Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Box With The Prize Inside!

Okay, who amongst us doesn't remember this little delectable snack?

Why, for just a single quarter (well, when I was a little, snotty-nosed kid, anyway. The price might've been more or less when you were 25 ...), you could get the most scrumptious caramel popcorn with a few peanuts mixed in. But the real thrill was when, about halfway down in the box, we'd see a little wrapped toy of some kind!
(By the way, I understand the lady who bought this particular box had tried them before and only got a small, wooden whistle! So, this time, she got lucky. At first, she wooden whistle - but now, she tin whistle!)

Oh, those little wonderful toys would give us minutes of fun (until they broke and required the purchase of another box. Great marketing idea, guys ...). But there was something far greater than a toy that the Hinson boys got from those boxes:

Picture it: Pineville, 1965 (okay, so I liked mama Sophia in The Golden Girls.) As many of you already know, my daddy, Eola Hinson, was a wise man and could draw useful parables out of anything (read this article, which I wrote seven years ago in his memory). Well, this time was no different.

My brothers and I were sitting in the living room, watching Uncle LL's zany antics on The Lloyd Thaxton Show (his 'finger people' were doing a Four Tops song, as I recall) and chowing down on our individual boxes of Crackerjacks.  Every few minutes, we'd poke around in the boxes, hoping to feel the little wrapped toy hidden inside.
A commercial came on, and that was daddy's cue (unbeknownst to us, he'd been watching us from the kitchen.  The rascal ...).  He came into the room (1.5 minutes of commercial time left!) and said "Boys, you're rootin' in those boxes like hungry pigs!  If you're that hungry, I'll get Mama to ..."  I looked at the TV set (c'mon, dad ... just a minute left!) and said, "We're lookin' for the prize!"  He laughed and said, "Boys, if you look for somethin' that hard when you grow up, you're sure as shootin' gonna find it!"  As the show came back on, he walked back into the kitchen, but kept talking! ("DAAad, we wanna hear Lloyd THAXTON, not YOU! So HUSH!!!") "Yeah, you're gonna have to go through a lot of stuff just like you do them Crackerjacks - but, if you want somethin' bad enough, don't let it stop you from gettin' it!  Right, Irene?"
Mama just smiled and peeked around the doorsill, watchin' Steve, Dick and Chucky with his guitar in his lap, grinnin' and gobblin' as we watched the best teen show anywhere ...

And we owed it all to the Crackerjacks (waitaminnit! Not ... those ... Crackerjacks; that's Arthur Smith's old group, who played on Carolina Calling every morning on channel 3 for years! Who didn't remember "Guitar Boogie" Smith, Tommy Faile, "Skeeter" Haas, Uncle Ralph and Cuzzin Fudd [the 'Counselors of the Airways'] and Wayne's comic rendition of "Surfin' Bird"? But all that's another story ...)

Speakin' of stories, though ... remember what Daddy said, okay? We've been through a lot over the past few months here in the good old USofA alone. But, from Boston to Cleveland, Oklahoma to Arizona, we've learned that if we just hold on, dig a little deeper, and expect something good to come of it all and, like we did in front of that old Zenith, work as a team, we'll find something good coming out of this life!

Our hands may get a bit sticky, and there may be crumbs on the floor now and then, but the good will always outweigh the bad, right??

Stay tuned ...

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