While adults filed into their own categories when I was growing up, whether it was Republican or Democrat, or permed and not permed (it was the 80s, bear with me!), us kids were creating important definitive groups of our own. On a warm summer day, the groups of ‘can play baseball well’ and ‘can’t hit a ball to save his life’ became important. There were also more general groups, to include ‘will always follow through on a “Truth or Dare” dare’, and ‘will always run home crying if they don’t like their dare’. Me? I loved a good dare. And I was pretty good at baseball, too. But throwing a snowball was never a specialty, so I spent much of the winter hiding behind cars and getting hit anyway. It’s OK – I got them back with really good dares! A creative mind never comes so in handy as it does when deciding someone’s dared fate.
But for all the ways we broke into one of 2 groups as it applied to games, it was at the candy store that we saw our great consumer divide into the ‘Sours’ and the ‘Sweets’. I was one of the ‘Sweets’ through and through without fail until the day a certain crescent-shaped treat landed in a glass dish in that enormous case of candy. I still requested my bag be filled with its usual helping of Satellite Wafers and Sixlets, but I saved a few cents for that new candy that would forever seal my fate as one who lives on the border of ‘Sours’ and ‘Sweets’. And that candy was…Sour Patch Watermelons.
I should start by saying I didn’t really expect to like them. But they were candy, and new at the store, and I felt it my duty as a child and regular patron of the candy store to give them a fair shot. I accepted the first one as a fluke. Surely they couldn’t all taste that good?! I had tried Sour Patch Kids more than a few times before this, and they never tasted that good. These appeared to be from the same Sour Patch family, but one was so much better than they other! I reasoned that the Sour Patch parents must be so proud of their wonderful watermelons – fabulous sugar-coated candies that far surpassed their ‘kids’ in amazingness. I stared into my little brown bag and struggled to not eat them all up at once. (‘Sours’ – don’t get mad at me for not thinking Sour Patch Kids are the best thing to ever happen to the candy world! Remember…I’m one of the ‘Sweets’. My affinity for Sour Patch Watermelons goes against my candy nature.)
To this day, I’m one of the ‘Sweets’. When a new sour candy hits the market, I’m usually one of the last to try it. I will always try it, though. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t, but it never becomes a candy staple like Sour Patch Watermelons. Even though it’s been 20-ish years since that first fabulous treat crossed my lips and worked its way past my taste buds and into my heart, I still hold onto the hope that it will happen again. I can’t help it – I’m a candy romantic!
Sure, in recent years many new sweet treats have earned themselves heavy rotation in my candy cupboard. But the first and last of the sours was the watermelon. Perhaps it will always be that way, and if so, that’s OK! But I’ll keep tasting and trying so I don’t miss out on what might be the second most important sour discovery of my life.