Friday, May 28, 2010

Memories of Grandpa and Licorice - Thoughts for Father's Day

Father's Day is coming, and what better time to reflect on memories, both of your father and your grandfather.  Often something as simple as the old fashioned taste of licorice can bring back a memory.  We asked people to share their licorice memories for a book we're compiling.  It was no surprise that lots of those memories had to do with grandparents.  Here are a couple "grandpa" memories:

     Oh my gosh! It seems like it was another world, so quiet and easy. In the late 1960’s on a steamy summer afternoon in LaMotte Iowa, around the Fourth of July, I was swaying slowly on the squeaky porch swing with my only grandpa while most of my five siblings and seven cousins were frolicking at the park around the bend or tapping on Grandma’s piano in the parlor. It wasn’t too often any of us got to sit all alone with Grandpa when we drove from Chicagoland to visit. I don’t remember him ever saying much, but he would pull a quarter out of my ear every time I crawled up and sat on his lap. How did it get in there? I wondered.
     Best of all, though, he always—and I mean always—had candy in his pocket. I’d crawl up and he’d ever so slowly reach into his left breast pocket as I’d watch and wait longingly for small pieces of coated chocolate or chalky pink discs. One day, however, he pulled out something I’d never seen. I noticed him looking away toward his spittoon. At first I wondered if it was his chewing tobacco. It was dark and leathery. I could smell it before I tasted it. Licorice! Mmmm! Thanks Grandpa. To this day every time I taste licorice I remember my grandpa. I remember how I sat there with him, how we shared time together. I remember how much this gentle old man loved me and how I loved him. I remember licorice.
-- Cathy Shuck
     By the time I was born, Papa was already quite ill. Growing up, I felt frightened by his wheezing, the shiny hospital bed, and the oxygen tanks that were taller than I was. While the adults talked, I’d play with the meerschaum pipes that Papa once relish and that he had lined up on his dresser like intricately carved bones. I loved their sweet, smoky scent.   One day Papa called me over conspiratorially and whispered in his thick accent, “You like ze pipes?”
       From under his pillow he pulled out a black licorice pipe. It tasted stronger than the licorice I was used to, saltier and more adult. Papa winked. The pipes became a special treat bridging generations. Soon afterwards, Papa moved West, where despite the dry air his asthma finally killed him. Forty years later, black licorice still takes me back to Papa’s house in Brookline, Massachusetts, where we shared a secret and a smile.
-- P.R. Wine
You can still buy those old fashioned licorice pipes here.

Click here to see the wide variety of gourmet licorice available from Licorice International.

No comments: