June 20, 2021:

We'd make quick trips to Old Town specifically for sugar sticks.

The candy store there was so huge it felt endless. Walls and aisles of chocolates or jellies or chewing gums. Where one entire side wall was taken with rows and rows of sugar sticks in big glass jars.

All the usual fruits. Grape, lime, cherry, lemon. All the usual mints. Peppermint, spearmint. After that it got interesting.

Mango, passion fruit, watermelon, chocolate mint, blueberry, banana, sassafras, kiwi, vanilla, root beer. I'd never eaten a blueberry in my life, but blueberry was my favorite.

Five cents each, six for a quarter. We'd haul ass down Clairemont Drive to Morena, under the freeway down Taylor to Juan. Back home with filled pockets, pedaling manically from the buzz, sugar sticks protruding from corners of grinning mouths, where in other ages or cultural contexts there might have been stogies. Home to basketball or football or kick the can. Fueled for the afternoon.