The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 21, 2014

Mike Pound: Annual trip for chocolate becoming bittersweet

She said she had a nice time, so I guess I should take her at her word.

Our daughter, Emma, is 16, and it’s pretty hard to tell what a 16-year-old girl is thinking even if she tells you what she’s thinking.

“Hey, Emma, what are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking I like those shoes you’re wearing.”

“Really?”

“Sure, why would I lie to my dad when he’s wearing shoes that look like he’s had them for 20 years?”

See what I mean?

On Saturday, Emma and I made our annual day-before-Easter trip to Richardson’s Candy House in Redings Mill. The first time Emma and I made the trek to Richardson’s, she was about 5 months old. As the years have passed and Emma has gotten older, the trip has remained the same, but the tone and the conversation have changed.

The first few years, there wasn’t much conversation at all during the trip. When Emma was 3, we had been driving home for about 15 minutes when I turned around and noticed that Emma was “wearing” the bunny rabbit-shaped sucker I had bought her on her face.

I decided after that to make sure to engage Emma in conversation.

We make the trip to Richardson’s on the day before Easter because my wife always gives up chocolate for Lent. My wife giving up chocolate for Lent would be like a Congress creature giving up lobbyists.

My wife likes chocolate, is what I’m saying.

To reward my wife for going 40 days without chocolate, Emma and I drive to Richardson’s and buy her an Easter basket as big as Dallas filled with all sorts of chocolate.

I drove to Richardson’s on Saturday, and on the way Emma and I talked about her driving skills. We decided they are still evolving. We also talked about school. Well, we sort of talked about school. I asked Emma how school was going, and she said, “Fine.”

Then we talked about summer. Emma said she thinks this summer will be the best ever. She said she is going to “hang with my friends, and we’re going to drive all over town.”

I told Emma that it must be nice to be 16. I also told her that when I was 16, I spent the summer working at a Sirloin Stockade in Junction City, Kan.

“That’s nice,” Emma said in that 16-year-old tone that means “I don’t care.”

I pulled into the Candy House parking lot, and we walked inside. After a quick look around, we found an Easter basket with the proper amount of chocolate. As we walked to the counter to pay, Emma stopped and asked if she could pick up a chocolate-covered Oreo.

“Just one?” I asked in surprise.

“Yeah, just one,” Emma said.

As we left the parking lot, I reminded Emma that I needed to stop at the mall to pick up a couple of things. Emma checked the time on her cellphone and asked if we were going to have to be at mall for very long.

I thought that was strange. When Emma and I go to the mall, I’m the one who usually asks if we are going to be there long.

But I remembered that Emma said, before we left Carthage, that she might want to meet some friends in Joplin. Apparently, while she had been texting and receiving texts pretty much nonstop during out trip, a time for Emma and her friends to meet had been established.

So we stopped at the mall, and I went to two stores to pick up what I needed, and I was able to drop Emma off in time to meet her friends.

After I dropped Emma off, I drove back home by myself. As I drove, I found myself looking into the back seat of the car. I don’t know what I was looking for. I guess I was hoping to see a 3-year-old Emma with a bunny rabbit sucker all over her face.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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