Seeing it on the country store shelf reminds me of Dad,
'Horehound candy', a name snickered at when I got older,
the flavor not really to my liking,
a root beer licorice cough drop taste, but still, it was candy,
and what kid would turn down candy.
Dad would always buy one stick, snap it in two, hand me
my half and say, "too much sugar'll spoil supper,
plus a penny a piece is ridiculous."
I don't remember the first or last time he bought me a stick,
I just remember he always did,
a sort of father son rite of passage
when horehound was on the shelf.
So, I ask for one of the candies, pay the ridiculous price
of a quarter and put half the stick in my mouth.
It tastes just like it did back then, but I don't remember
it ever causing a tear to fall from my eye.
Carl "Papa" Palmer of University Place, WA is retired military, retired FAA, now just plain retired without wristwatch, cell phone, alarm clock or Facebook friend. Carl is a Hospice volunteer and president of The Tacoma Writers Club.
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