My father doesn't like to go fishing. This fact was hidden from us children for years. You see, he took us fishing many, many times. We never cared for it. But, we went because we thought he liked it. So we sacrificed for him. Only years later did he confess he didn't like fishing, but did it because he felt we children needed to know how to fish. He was the one that did the real sacrificing! (Especially since he had to put the worm on the hook, and take the fish off!)
My father was always showing and telling us what he felt we needed to know.
Like how to make gum. We thought gum only came from convenience stores. "Not true", he said. "There's a way to make gum." We were amazed, yet doubtful. No one else's dad ever talked about making gum.
But, lo and behold, one day we were driving along an old country road, and he stopped the car. Little did we know - this was the day we were going to get a treat!
You see, he had spotted a sweetgum tree!
He took a pocket knife out, and slowly the resin collected in his hands. Just a small amount, but enough for all of us to try a little. Of course, we made him try it first. He declared that it was "mmm, mmm, good", and it became time to give ours a try.
I can't say that I remember much about what it tasted like, but I think it was O.K., but not really "mmm, mmm, good". We chewed it just long enough to say we had tried homemade gum. And my father had given us one more lesson.
I'm sorry to say I've never given this type of gum to my children. I can imagine that's fine with them.
But when I went for my walk to join in This Grandmother's Garden's walking meme, this beautiful sweetgum tree was showing all its beautiful colors. And I can never look at a sweetgum tree (liquidambar) without thinking of that day, and that experience. Even the latin for sweetgum looks like it would be fun to try, almost as if it's taunting you to give it's 'liquid amber' a chew.
Sweetgums are also known for these little prickly balls that fall off the tree. Painted gold, they make beautiful Christmas ornaments. They are also a very unstable surface to land upon when jumping off a porch.
But that's another story.