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by Carl Palmer
Seeing it on the country store shelf
reminds me of Dad.
Horehound candy, a name snickered
at when I got older,
a 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.