Daddy Cecil’s Juicy Fruit Gum

by Sherry Riter in Daddy Cecil,Family

Daddy Cecil's Juicy Fruit

With shiny black patent leather shoes and wearing a starched dress, I tiptoed between chicken poop from the car to the worn wooden steps. I was filled with excitement at the activities that stretched before me.

At the age of four, I was short. Not any shorter than other children my age, but short in comparison to my surroundings. When we visited with my great grandparents, it was always an adventure in the country at the farm especially from a young child’s perspective.

As I walked down the hallway, I could hear Daddy Cecil breathing heavily above the sound of the creaking boards beneath my shoes.The top of his balding head leaned against the arm of the couch. He was stretched out like so many times before with one arm behind his head.

Daddy Cecil was thin with a very wrinkled face. He was the most wrinkled person I had ever seen and yet, those deep craggy lines across his face intrigued me. Smelling of tobacco and musty armpit, he reached out and gave me a huge hug and kissed my cheek.

“I like my manly armpits,” he would always say as I scrunched my nose and told him that he stunk. Daddy Cecil would just laugh and his bright blue eyes would twinkle. His eyes were beautiful.

“Do you want a piece of Juicy Fruit?” he asked as he reached into the front pocket of his well worn plaid shirt. There was a never ending supply of Juicy Fruit gum in his front shirt pocket.

I never declined.

My little red painted fingernails carefully tore off the distinctive yellow wrapping and opened the silver foil liner. Then taking the powdery sugar coated gum, I tried to fit the whole piece in my mouth. It always felt like such a large piece! Crushing the paper, I would finally look back at him.

I didn’t recognize that look when I was four years old, but now I know it was love and amazement that flashed across his face. From the moment I walked up to the couch beside him until I left to explore the kitchen with my great grandmother, I was the focus of all his attention.

I loved him and I think he is the reason that I find blue eyes so attractive and mesmerizing.

A simple farmer.





A huge Gum Ball tree.

Kitties everywhere.

Indelible memories.

Then one day, all dressed up, my parents took me to a strange place. Everyone was dressed up and crying. Mom said, “Daddy Cecil died. He has gone to Heaven to live with Jesus.”

I was confused. I could see him laying in front of us with his hand at my eye level. He didn’t move. His face wasn’t smiling.

I reached up and touched his hand only to find it cold and unmoving.

I let go and kept my arms by my side and stared at the hand that once touch my bouncy curls and gave me Juicy Fruit gum with twinkling blue eyes.

I felt overwhelming sadness.

Jesus can’t take Daddy Cecil.

I don’t want him to be dead.

I want him back.

It has been more than forty years since that day.

I still miss him and think of him every time I see a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mama Penguin July 10, 2010 at 1:13 am



2 CM July 10, 2010 at 1:27 am

What bitter sweet memories. Isn't it amazing how such simple gestures leave such a lasting impression on us. Beautiful tribute.


3 Gypsy July 10, 2010 at 2:55 am

What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing.


4 ~The One Who Said It July 10, 2010 at 3:48 am

How lovely! It is the memories we have of the past that carry us into the future. I'm a big fan!


5 Ginny Marie July 10, 2010 at 4:00 am

I loved reading your memories of Daddy Cecil, especially how he told you he liked his manly armpits! That made me smile.


6 Teresha@Marlie and Me July 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

such a beautiful memory!


7 Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan July 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

a lovely memory 🙂


8 Jerry July 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm

and this brought back memories of Uncle Buzzy who always dug out Juicy Fruit for me and my sister whenever we visited. Memories are treasures, even those that are bitter sweet.


9 Robin July 10, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Wow, what a great post! I can see his eyes twinkling…


10 Kristen @ July 13, 2010 at 3:03 am

awww, that is so sweet and sad at the same time. What amazing memories!


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