They were magical beans that turned awful to awesome

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner • forThe Review

It’s good to know that the same fun we had torturing our children we can replicate with out grandchildren.

It was Aiden’s turn over the weekend to be the object of Poppie and Mee-Mee’s fun and games.

We had him for the weekend while his parents were away at a wedding, so we decided to take him for a fun outing Sunday – to the Jelly Belly factory about two hours away to take the factory tour.

Only we didn’t tell him where we were going – we just told him to get dressed and get in the car so we could go on an adventure.

He figured at first that we were just going to the grocery store or Wal-mart to do some shopping – can you tell where he goes a lot with his grandparents – but when we headed south out of town, he had to come up with another idea.

Actually, he just asked us where we were going – about every other mile, it seemed – but we steadfastly kept it a secret and just said we were going on an adventure.

It wouldn’t be the first Jelly Belly tour for Mee-Mee or Poppie, but we wanted to make sure Aiden got there before the place closes down later this summer.

We’ve stopped at the outlet store at Jelly Belly a few times with Aiden on various trips, but we’d never had the time to stop and take the tour.

It was thanks to me that we took our first factory tour – when Terry asked me as I approached my 50th birthday a dozen years ago what I wanted to do to celebrate, that was what I came up with.

I could have suggested a lot of places, but I settled on someplace fairly close that was sweet and free – the best part of all.

You could probably figure that that’s where my second childhood started, but it’s also possible that my first one never really stopped.

Aiden had a few toys to play with in the back seat and games on Mee-Mee and Poppie’s cell phones to keep him entertained on the ride, but their charms soon ran out, apparently.

The queries about our destination became more frequent and more insistent as the miles wound on and the time wore on.

We weren’t even through Milwaukee when we started hearing a chorus from the back seat terming this the worst and most boring trip ever.

It seems for Aiden that getting there isn’t any fun unless he knows where there is.

We finally turned off the interstate and heading for the Jelly Belly factory, less than two hours away from home.

The chant still continued from the back seat - “This is the worst trip ever!” - until Aiden saw the Jelly Belly sign and suddenly his tune changed.

All it took was two words – 10 letters – to change this trip from awful to awesome for Aiden.

We got in line for the tour and got our paper Jelly Belly hats to wear on the tour, then boarded the tour train.

We learned the history of the company and how they make Jelly Bellies, taffy and other candies.

We got to see giant picture mosaics made with jelly beans and even dresses made of jelly beans.

This was getting awesomer by the minute – for Aiden, too.

We finished our tour – and even got a complimentary free sample bag of Jelly Bellies – then headed over to the store.

There was a counter where you could get samples of jelly beans and other candies, so naturally Aiden and I headed right there.

Aiden had a sample gummi soda bottle, then tried some peas and carrots – candy peas and carrots, of course.

He then worked up his courage to try a booger-flavor Jelly Belly.

It’s one of their whole line of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans based on the Harry Potter books and includes such delights as earwax, vomit, dirt, grass clippings and more.

We’d just watched a couple of the Harry Potter movies on TV with Aiden the day before, so it was still fresh in his mind apparently.

Fortunately for him, there was a garbage can nearby for him to spit the booger bean out – after his first bite.

I’m assuming the store keeps the garbage can handy for just that reason.

Fortunately, Aiden was able to wash the taste out of his month with another gummi bottle – and there was no way that booger bean was going to change from awful to awesome.

It was just Mee-Mee and Poppie’s big adventure that was able to make that transformation.


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