Little things can bring joy

Published 9:00 am Monday, October 30, 2023

I’m so glad you can still buy certain items that are considered nostalgic now.

I can remember my grandfather liked Atkinson’s Peanut Butter Bars. Measuring roughly 1.5 x 0.5 inches and ¼-inch thick, the crunchy treat was the perfect bite-sized delight for a grandson who was always eager to have what Granddaddy had. They were wrapped in clear plastic with brown horizontal lines that I always thought were on the candy instead of the wrapper. They moved so quickly from the plastic to my mouth that I guess I never noticed.

I have no clue how much they cost back in the 1970s, but they’re not real expensive now — as long as you buy in bulk. I bought a bag today at a convenience store. Distributed by Gurley’s foods as Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars, the 2 oz. bag was $1.29 or two for $2. There were eight bars in the bag, but the bag said it held five servings. You figure that one out.

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It’s the diabetic’s dream — the ingredients are cane sugar, corn syrup, peanut butter and vanilla, in that order. I guess I had to be like my grandfather in that regard, too.

The Atkinson Candy Company was founded in 1932 by a man named B.E. Atkinson, in Lufkin, Texas. It is not really known when the iconic peanut butter bars were first created, but the recipe for them has changed as the company “has continued to refine and perfect (the) recipe,” according to

These things are delicious. If you’ve never tried them and you like peanut butter, or candy, or smiles, or babies, or puppies and kittens, or anything good in this world, then you should. Try them, that is. And you should probably like the other stuff, too. But you can also choose to be sad. Your choice.

They get stuck in my teeth, but that just means I get to continue to savor the sweet and salty flavor as I use my tongue to work it out over the next few hours. I don’t buy them very often, either, because they’re basically sugar bars and I have no self-control around them. I started to say I had “little” self-control, but I opted for honesty.

When I eat one of these little candies, I’m ushered back to a moment of blissful happiness, where all was right with the world, and I dangled my feet off my grandparents’ couch as I sat comfortably in my hefty-size corduroys (not running around so as not to start a fire with my legs rubbing together in those things).

But I really don’t have to even eat them to get that nostalgic feeling. I see them and it brings a smile to my face. It’s not about the taste, though I like it. It’s not about anything other than reliving a brief moment of childlike joy.

The orange circus peanut candies provide the same sense of nostalgia for my wife, because her grandfather liked them. Sure they taste like petroleum and would probably make a good brick wall if they didn’t attract ants so well, still … it’s not about the taste.

These things are about sparks of joy. Maybe you have little things like these that just bring a smile to your face no matter what.

Nothing brings me more joy that the relationships I have — first with God, then my family, and my friends. If you’d like to share what “little things” bring you joy, drop me an email.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at