This I Believe
I firmly believe that regular consumption of sweet sugar is the secret to maintaining a youthful soul.
Since the early age of eight or so, every penny I found on the ground went directly into a “Swedish Fish” fund, which I was permitted to cash in at the end of every week. I promptly did so. Swedish Fish are a sweet, gummy, little, bright red, fish shaped candy found all over the Midwest. Every Friday after school I would empty my money jar and proudly saunter to my local corner store and purchase either a twenty-five cent bag or if I was lucky that week a whopping fifty-cent bag of my beautiful Swedish fish. As my teeth sank into the first gummy fish, an explosion of excitement ran through me and I could be considered a happy camper for the weekend to come.
One week ago, at the ripe age of 26, I was shopping at my local Vons and my eye spotted a miracle on the very bottom far right corner of the candy isle. It was a bag of my beloved Swedish Fish. I grabbed all four packages available and reveled in the joy of being an adult with an income at my disposal. I immediately called my mother, in the middle of isle four, at Vons, to share my treasure with her. We laughed and remembered how I would scrounge and save every cent and how it has been my mothers’ duty to ship, from Ohio to California, enough Swedish Fish to sustain me until I can visit and restock. When we hung up, I was still in disbelief that I had found my small town Ohio childhood, in a bag on the bottom shelf at Vons. There was no way I was going to wait a minute longer to eat some and so I pulled the bag open right then and there. As I sank my teeth into the first gummy fish, even eighteen years later, that same explosion of excitement ran through me and I felt as if I was back on the corner, ready to ride my bike home to enjoy yet another tiny brown bag of Swedish Fish.
I believe that everyone from every culture, every age group has a single or a few sweets from their past and each and every time they get a chance to consume them, they feel a version of the transport that I do. Back to a time in their life when riding bikes was essential, climbing trees was on a to do list and home before dark was the only law for miles around.
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