The Clark Bar looked so inviting on the shelf, until I took a bite. Not as good: childhood sweets don’t taste the same sixty-five years later. The candy bar at $1.29 was the cheapest thing I could find in the Bass Pro Shop, a store so huge that even 14-foot rowboats stacked outside look small. A store so big that a family can spend a whole day––shopping, bowling, and eating––and never get bored. A store so humongous that I have to call my husband on his cell phone to find him again.
I was holding a Bass Pro $10 coupon that had arrived after my husband bought two long-sleeved Ts on-line. As soon as I saw that email, I remembered the gray Crocs that I had seen weeks earlier but had decided against, only to regret that decision the next time I wore the old plastic outdoor work shoes I kept next to the door. Now the Crocs were still on the rack, and still $29.99, one penny short of the minimum purchase of $30 to use the coupon. The search for penny candy (Ha!) had drawn me to the Clark Bar.
Back in the car, I chewed the too-hard, too-sticky Clark Bar and remembered how I had always looked forward to the first crunchy bite when Daddy would come out of the beer joint and hand my candy to me as he climbed into the old ‘36 Chevy where my sister and I had waited while he downed a beer. Or two. Back then, the nickel bar always hit the spot. Maybe the candy had sat in the tavern’s case long enough to make the inside not too hard and not too sticky. Just right.
At home I let my husband finish off the candy bar and I carried my fake, made-in-China Crocs that I had been wearing the last seven years or so, out to the trashcan. White paint spatters covered the blue, light-weight foam, wrapped ‘round and ‘round with duct tape to hold square patches of cardboard where holes were worn in the soles. They had cost all of $2.99 at Walgreen’s and I had gotten my money’s worth.
My new real Crocs are almost as light, and fit better. And worth the money, too – by the time I had paid for the candy and paid the tax on the full price, I had saved almost $7.
But realizing that I no longer craved a Clark Bar? Priceless.