By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Photos: Steve Giralt; Stylist: Elizabeth Blake

Last Friday night I was in New York with three friends, getting punched in the stomach for 3 hours straight (a.k.a. attending the excellent production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? currently playing at the Booth Theater).

Right before the play started, I got a text from my husband with a photo of a box of Goo Goo Clusters in UPS packaging. His message said, “Do you know who sent this?” Given the fact that I was about to watch a play about an abusive marriage, I snottily texted back: “Was there a note?” Of course, because my husband has an IQ higher than 7, he had already checked for a note and found none.

My husband—who almost has a hard time eating things I buy at the store for fear that I have secretly poisoned him—definitely was not going to touch the Clusters. And so during intermission I found another text from him: “Where did you put all the candy?”

Because I am in a mostly healthy, un-Virginia Woolfish marriage, I was consumed by guilt. You see, that very morning I had donated all of our leftover Halloween candy to the troops through my son’s school—and there was a lot, as Halloween was “cancelled” by my town (see: Hurricane Sandy). But I didn’t tell my husband that I was giving away the candy. So now he had no Halloween candy, and extremely suspicious Goo Goo Clusters.

And so my husband, three sons, and I stared forlornly at the Goo Goo Clusters for the following 18 hours, until the mail arrived on Saturday. In the mail was a note from our dear friend Judith, who lives in Iowa and thought that what we probably needed most, given our superstorm experience, was a box of wonderful candy from Nashville. She didn’t even know I had given away the Halloween candy. As always, Judith was exactly right.

So much to be thankful for: that my marriage is better than George and Martha’s. That I have a roof over my head after the hurricane. That my elementary school makes it so easy to help others. And that I have a dear friend in Iowa who knows there’s nothing better than the just-right mystery food gift, as long as it doesn’t remain a mystery forever.