When John Ryan, production manager at Ferrara’s Itasca plant, came home, his kids would sometimes drag their friends over to him for a quick sniff.
“Come over and smell my dad!” they’d say. “My dad works for a candy company!”
The ability to impress your children is only one benefit of running a candy factory. Employees — and yes, they’re hiring, like everybody else — get free samples.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to do with my recent visit to Ferrara — in mid-May, not so recent. I’d seen Nerds — little granules of hard candy — being made in big drums, bright yellow, hot pink and cool aqua, then poured into tiny rattling boxes. And Sweetarts, those little squat pastel cylinders, packed into clear wrapped plastic cylinders. Cherry ropes running through a production line as long as a football field.
Not the sort of inside information the world is eager to consume. I kept waiting for a break in the awful news to slip this sweet interlude into the paper. Isn’t mid-July supposed to be sleepy? The president off on vacation, glimpsed wearing a big Panama hat while patting a bison, on some ranch in Wyoming?
But no. For nearly two months, one damn thing after another. I woke up Sunday morning and assessed my options. The headline on the Sun-Times was “TOGETHER WE GRIEVE,” with six pages of coverage of the Highland Park July Fourth parade massacre. States scrambling over each other to smother women’s reproductive rights. The Ukraine war still grinding on. Boris Johnson out as British prime minister, after mass resignations in his administration, the kind of selfless move that only adds a new layer of shame to our Republican leaders. Shinzo Abe assassinated in Japan, a nation of 125 million people that had one — one! one! ONE! — murder by gun last year. Maybe I should just write that sentence over and over, 25 times, then call it a day.
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