It’s a gumdrop tree. Favorite of little old ladies everywhere, except most of those are made of cheap green plastic and have had gumdrops stuck on them since 1959. This one is a deluxe mirror-finish aluminum model, given to us by my aunt for Christmas this year (her own auntie had one of the originals). It makes me think of my great, great aunt Viola Pastry (yes, Viola was her real name) who, though she never had a gumdrop tree that I can recall, kept a candy dish on her parlor table, filled with with ancient butterscotch drops and those little powdery after-dinner mints that turn to drywall after a week. Of course hers had been left out for years, but my twin sister and I were so desperate for something to do when my mother dragged us to her apartment that we’d eat them — then laugh at each other with little puffs of mummified sugar dust coming out our mouths. Aunt Viola was the oldest woman I knew as a youngster. Since she died when I was less than 10, I can’t remember what she looked like. But I can remember how those mints tasted. Blechhhhh….