Tag Archives: candy

The Cracker Jack Guy at the Ball Park on a Tuesday in July

(for Kristina)
There is no one lonelier than the Cracker Jack guy at the ball park on a Tuesday in July
He doesn’t have the heart to call it out the way the beer guy does with evangelistic passion
He can’t deliver the overhand fastball-bag of peanuts like the old black lady with plastic visor
He doesn’t get the kids circling him – pointing at the pink clouds offered by the cotton candy guy
He just has a wilted plastic duffle bag full of waxy cardboard boxes of crunchy goodness
(A prize in every box – they say)

No one seems to remember how important Cracker Jack is to the game of baseball
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack is a mandate not an ambiguous statement
If you’re going to take me out to the ball game –you better buy me some Cracker Jack
I don’t want Dipping Dots or Ropes or Vines – or a helmet full of nachos and cheese

No one notices the tired young man trudging up and down the stairs wishing he it was peanuts
Past the optimistic kids with the oversized mitts and the red nosed ballpark vets in faded jerseys
Past the candy-wielding grammas who know how to save a buck and still get the kids sugared up
Past the stat-fan in the retro jersey and the pencil stub working the program – keeping score

Enough Cracker Jack has been sold to stack end-to-end more than 63 times around the earth
And the sad truth is this
There is no one lonelier than the Cracker Jack guy at the ball park on a Tuesday in July

Coal Dust

I am the son of the son of a coal miner
My father having escaped
the steaming bowels of West Virginia
Long before I came into this world
His father traded a lung full of coal dust
For a handful a black smeared dollar bills
So the family could buy potatoes and stay alive

Not much of a life expectancy for pet canaries
in that mining camp
Simmering slag piles offered grimy solace for the young boys
Their minds filled with thoughts of a far away war
Now the ones who made it back home are left with
Just some memories of the black stained hands
And the coal dust on the wind discoloring the laundry on the line
Just some memories of the ancient grocer in her musty shop
And the shelves stocked with sacks of flour
and sugar and jars of shiny red candy

Hollywood finally came slicing through the Blue Ridge Mountains
Nesting there to pick at the remains of the carcass
Left by box-guitar playing hobos and folk music sycophants
They strum and wail of the richness of West Virginia and its people
Unaware that the mysteries within are equally lost on them

The son of a coal minor is often touched by the effort
When he gets lost in the panoramic vista of the sweeping verses
It is almost easy to forget the miners’ life
It is almost easy to forget the slag piles
It is almost easy to forget the coal dust