Swedish Fish

To some, Swedish Fish are more than just a candy. They might just save your life.

The world is swimming with Swedish Fish. Just not here. Not in this house.

It started on Halloween. I’d gone to Costco and bought three large bags of candy. In charge of handing out the candy, I noticed only one single serving package of Swedish Fish, that delicious little red gummy candy fashioned in the shape of a fish, drowning in a jumble of Milky Ways, Baby Ruths and M&M's.

Rather than to make one child happy and hundreds of others less happy, I opened the package and ate the candy myself.

“What an odd thing,” I said to Sue later on. “There was only one package of Swedish Fish in the bags.”

To her credit she did not blush, hesitate or try to change the subject.

”I took them out and put them aside,” she said. “They are in a bowl in the pantry. You know I don’t eat candy but I like Swedish Fish.”

Then she told me a story that seemed fantastical but apparently she believed it. She claimed that Swedish Fish had almost saved her life once on a drive home from Sacramento.

“I was falling asleep at the wheel and I stopped and bought a package of Swedish Fish at a convenience store,” she said. “It perked me right up.”

Perked you right up? Coffee does that and cinnamon candy has worked for me, specifically Hot Tamales, but I hadn’t realized that Swedish Fish also had restorative powers, as if we needed another reason to buy it.

“Fair enough,” I said. “However, who goes through three bags of candy and takes out every bag of Swedish Fish? I guess I just didn’t see that coming with you.”

You make your peace with these things and as long as I knew where the bowl was in the pantry — and I did — and we had equal access to it, I was OK with what seemed like an Sue-like move.

Swedish Fish are a good snack before a bike ride or to shore up a visit to a crowded post office. The candy is versatile and in the days after our conversation, I explored the boundaries of its versatility. What I hadn’t realized is that I was being watched by the president of the Swedish Fish Fan Club.

One day, the bowl disappeared. The bowl and everything in the bowl. I thought perhaps they’d ended up behind the the box of Honey Nut Cheerios or the three-pound bag of Jose’s Coffee.

“I can’t find the Swedish Fish,” I said.

“I know you can’t,” she said. “I’ve hidden them.”

First you take every package but one from the three large bags of candy and now you’ve hidden them from the person to whom you are married? I’ve heard of people hiding chocolate because when people are jonesing for chocolate they are almost out of control and will tear apart a house like a bear will a locked car.

Swedish Fish? That’s a first.

In all fairness, the Fish, although they have become an endangered species, have not disappeared altogether. In the midst of watching the movie “Ford v Ferrari,” both of us well back in the luxury recliners at the Maya, I felt a warm hand reach over the armrest. In the warm hand was a bag of Swedish Fish.

I thanked her. Love comes in many forms and sometimes it is red, chewy and can save your life.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.

(2) comments


Herb - now the Maya knows you smuggle in your own candy.



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