Tammy Curtis, Publisher
If you stop to ponder it, kids aren’t much different than dogs in regard to what they will do for a treat. I have been forced as I got older to acknowledge this fact. Now I will admittedly do a lot of things for a Klondike bar, but I will safely say, at this point in my life, I would do a lot more for just one more Cert. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I will apologize in advance. They were the original breath mint turned behavior modifying Sunday treat. Sadly, these little gold foil wrapped gems dominated many children’s earliest religious memories more so than some of Jesus’ most vital teachings. Who among us doesn’t recall the time in every Sunday sermon when we knew what was about to happen and when it did it in was in super slow motion. Our panty hose clad mother reached ever so slowly below the pew during a long prayer for her oversized purse. In some sort of single motion, about half way through the service, as only mothers can do, she, the keeper of the Certs, would introduce them for the day. Without every taking her eyes off the preacher and in one deep swoop, her hand returned with a gold foil roll Certs. Sometime it was a whole roll and sometimes it required the skill of placing her fingernail between the last two to divvy them out properly. We all knew what was next. Our patience was tested and our little mouths watered as she peeled the gold paperback to reveal what we knew as the holiest of all Sunday treats. Because my brother was youngest, he usually sat by Momma, so he got the first one, and then through his and then Daddy’s hand, the single, speckled white gem landed its roundness in my tiny hands for a fraction of a second before it magnetically made its way to my mouth. I gobbled its cooling goodness up. I loved to breath out after I ate it because I thought I magically became some sort of icy airbreathing goddess. Crunch, Crunch, in mere seconds, the cert with its “glistening drop of retsyn” as the ads so proudly exclaimed of the most famous “Two, two, two mints in one” holy grail of church mints was gone as quickly as it appeared. There was something about the process of receiving the mint that we also held as holy as anything on Sunday. We learned quickly there was not an unlimited supply source of the icy goodness within the confines of Momma’s bag. So, after a while, (okay maybe four more years) we learned to not chomp them down like good chocolate, but to instead savor them and our new found ice breath as long as possible. As seven and five year olds we would roll over and play dead if we had to, but we learned we would get them. Two were usually doled out to us if the preacher was long winded. But, as the years moved forward, for some reason my parents added another child to the mix so the number of Certs we received dwindled as we were forced to split them yet another way. I sure wasn’t beyond making my Momma bite one in half if there was only one either. As with all children, there was al-ways some type of competition in everything, and getting Certs was no different. We were reduced to acting like a dog competing for the most treats. We sat, we stayed, we kept our little hands in our laps, sang the Heavenly Hymnal like God himself was about to take us out if we didn’t and we dared not talk. I am not sure if they were utilized by my mother as a reward for sitting still and not requesting a re-turn trip to the outhouse at the Agnos Church of Christ, or if they were just something to say “I love you” and if you behave there is more where that came from. It didn’t matter, we loved those retsyn enhanced suckers every bit as much as those perfectly fried chicken legs we also fought over at our monthly Sunday dinner on the grounds. (To this day I can’t cook them like Mrs .Mammie Manry could).I learned early on that my brother was a wuss and couldn’t tolerate the hot cinnamon ones. Looking back, I am sure I had no say in the flavor selection Momma made at the local grocery story, but we got cinnamon a lot more than fruit flavored ones. On the days cinnamon prevailed, I got three and he got zero. In those pre-Google days, I always wondered what in the heck a drop of retsyn even was. I don’t know but guess it gave me the whole ice goddess persona and I didn’t ever want to lose it. More than once, I am guessing the perfume and Kleenex within the crevices of her purse enhanced the flavor of these pre Willy Wonka gold wrapped gems. Tic Tacs have nothing on Certs. There I said it. Children across America’s heartland have been deprived of this Sunday tradition since their disappearance in 2018. For years, I have been on a search for the gold packaged joys of Sunday and not found a single pack. I decided to take to the web, and find them I did… but I would be more likely to afford a street drug and less likely to enjoy it as much. Bible Belt babies will never know the joy of the sound, smell and taste of Certs during church because for some reason the Hydrogenated Cottonseed oil contained within them caused them to be pulled from the shelves. I am pretty sure panty hose are still legal so, until those are pulled from the shelves, one thing is for “Cert in”.. no one can take away those icy mouthed memories.