In 1856, at this very hour, a barrel of licorice coming from Paris fell out of the coach where it was travelling. The rugged and harsh terrain from that area of the American Midwest, caused the barrel to roll down to the waters of Lake Michigan, near Chicago. The man at the reins of the coach, James Turner III, of the old Tuner family originally from Gloucester, didn´t notice the loss.

The barrel was dragged by the tides of the cold lake, and although at first it remained on the surface, the water slowly waterlogged it making it increasingly heavy. It floated for weeks until the wood, overcome by the waves sank one fine day in autumn.

The years went by, the many colored fish ate the licorice inside the barrel. Time passed, and eventualy the barrel came back afloat. On a cold morning the wind from the north pushed it towards shore, and the rocks wrecked it.

Today, the remains of the licorice barrel still swim around the lake, making the water sweeter than normal. Every year, the caramel flavored driftwood returns to shore to announce the arrival of spring.

What follows is the story of one of those pieces of wood.


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