Note: This story is from six years ago, but it is a holiday tale which speaks to any era. As a personal aside, “The Bun” is our toddler, who got that name from being a “Bun in the Oven.” That kid has years of therapy ahead of him.

Every Christmas is a misadventure in gift-making in the hopes of saving money, but this year I thought I would go out of my way to come up with something really special. And when my husband and I went to an amazing dessert place, I noticed they sold a box of four brandied cherries for nine bucks. FOUR CHERRIES. Nine bucks. I don’t question the quality of their cherries, but nine bucks seemed like a lot of hay for four little chocolate-dipped confections.

“I’ll make chocolate cherries for Christmas. If this place can sell ’em for nine bucks a box, surely I can give mine away for free!”

I began doing my research. I didn’t have a recipe and all I could find were separate pieces of the puzzle: a recipe for brandied cherries, without chocolate. Maraschino cherries instead of fresh. Finally I found a recipe that sounded right but there was honest-to-god canning involved and I was intimidated; I’ve never canned anything, and little gift boxes of botulism probably don’t go over very well. So I found a recipe for the cherries which involved only hooch, sugar, and the cherries themselves, dumped in a jar and allowed to pickle themselves in wanton boozy splendor.

Cherries are hard to come by in the middle of December. I’ll bet you haven’t looked lately, but if you had you would discover that cherries are either mangy, ludicrously expensive, or altogether absent. I ran against all three problems in my quest, but finally found a pathetic little bunch for ten dollars a pound at a specialty store. I doused them liberally in brandy.

It was about this time that I realized that the brandied-cherry process takes three months. THREE MONTHS! I didn’t have three weeks! I began to foresee a little time crunch, and unless I could build a time machine in the next few days, my cherries were going to be ready in time for a little Easter giving.

I needed to can them after all.

Back to the stores trawling for fresh cherries, which included me learning when produce deliveries were made. Each potential triumph was met with disappointment: the cherries were supposed to arrive Wednesday, then Thursday. I called the produce guy: no cherries until Saturday, and maybe not until next week. Time was of the essence, and I was losing hope. My cherries were a dream unfulfilled.

I gave up. I was just going to have to bake some stupid cookies or something.

Ready to move on with my life I walked into a store to pick up some victuals, and there, like manna from heaven in a glistening pile of blood-red fructose, was the answer to all my drunken holiday dreams: Chilean Bing cherries for $7.99 a pound. I should have bought them all, but in my travels I envisioned another tortured nut-job racing from store to store looking for cherries and I had pity on them. I left some behind for the next sorry sap.

I was ready to can. I had the cherries. I designed the labels. I bought boxes and little candy underpants for the finished confections. All systems were go.

To evaluate my process, I looked at the website of the dessert place where this seed of discontent had germinated and read the description of their cherries:

The house specialty! These bad boys have been bathing in Kirsch since June! They then take a dip in fondant and finish with bittersweet chocolate.

I read it again: fondant.

What the hell is fondant?

There was some mystery component called “fondant” which was the answer to my drunken cherry nightmare. Back to the internet I went, searching high and low for a definition of fondant and how I could get some, fast.

Each answer provided more questions. Fondant was the icing on those crazy Martha Stewart wedding cakes which look like they’ve been shellacked. But what was icing doing in my drunken cherries? It was a solid that turned into a liquid and made cordials gooey inside. Okay, great, gooey cherries, but how the hell do I get some?

After reading thirty websites and parsing out half-literate directions, I realized that fondant is confusing because fondant is all things to all bakers. It is the icing on the cake and the buttercream filling in Mrs. See’s candy. It is the sugary goo in the cordial cherry and the totality of the after-dinner mints in the restaurant. It is everything, and nothing at all.

It was too zen for me. But I had come too far, invested too much sanity, and spent too much money on cherries to let a little sugar come between me and my drunken confection.

Now we were treading in true candy-making waters, a dark, perilous path which, unlike cooking, has little margin for error and lots of scientific voodoo surrounding it. I was never very good at science. I read up all I could, and bought myself a candy thermometer and a scraper. I dug out a marble slab from a table which had gone into deep storage since The Bun arrived.

I put him down for a nap, and I began to boil sugar.

The only thing I really know about boiling anything is that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But this sugar needed to boil to a “soft ball” stage, which was supposed to be between 235 and 240  degrees exactly. I had no idea how long that took.

It takes a long time.

The Bun was awake before it was done, that’s how long it took. And I needed to let the sugar cool for a while on my marble slab, which, after waiting an eternity for it to boil was too much for me to resist. As a cook, you’re always stirring and tasting and spicing and stirring again, but this candy thing was achtung about stirring the boiling sugar (“Verboten!”), and now I had to let it cool without meddling with it? It was intolerable. Plus, The Bun was rummaging through a cupboard he had emptied of its couscous the day before, and I needed to get this show on the road before the pilaf met a similar end.

I began to knead my fondant. It was very, very sticky. It did not come up easily from the marble slab. It did not ball up like Silly Putty or Play Dough. It stuck to the scraper. It stuck to itself. It was a complete mess. I powdered my hands with corn starch and began twisting it in my hands, hoping it would begin to harden just enough for me to throw it away, when it began to turn white, just like it was supposed to. It was crazy, it was amazing! I set it down and rescued the oyster crackers from the clutches of the bun. I felt moderately triumphant, and then went about trying to make dinner.

Lars came home to a marble slab covered in sugary tar, me covered in corn starch, and a hungry Bun. I explained the circuitous route by which I came to this point, and showed him my round white ball of sugar which I tapped proudly.

It thudded. It had a weight similar to the heft of cement shoes. It was as white as a cue ball, but markedly larger with a gravity that puts Jupiter to shame. My fondant wasn’t a light confection that was flexible enough to roll–it was hard enough that if I hurled it at someone’s head, it would give them a concussion, if not kill them outright.

Despite this setback (how many setbacks have I had now? Four? Five?), I proceeded along with my plan and canned the second batch of cherries. I’m considering getting more just so I can make sure I’ve got enough on hand to make a fabulously ridiculously enormous batch of chocolate-bloody-covered cherries.

At this point I’m committed. I’ve become a woman possessed.

Now it’s not about the Christmas cheer, or the joy of giving, or the good feeling one gets by sharing a handmade gift of delicious food. Now it’s the principle of the thing. Now it’s about revenge. Now it’s about me conquering a bunch of out-of-season cherries and making them cower beneath my fondant and chocolate glaze.

Happy Holidays.


I have seen my Drunken Cherries through to their conclusion, and there’s no step which hasn’t been met with chaos. As of this writing, the casualty list is: four jars of cherries, three batches of failed fondant, two bags of sugar, a quart plus a pint of brandy, several pounds of chocolate, many afternoons, and most of my dignity.

I never did succeed in making fondant. One batch was stone, one was tar, and after I realized my thermometer wasn’t recording proper temperatures, my last batch crystallized like rock candy. So I gave in and bought some. Of course, it was out of stock when I walked in, so I had to wait yet another day. This is typical of the Cherry Path, and in the end the cherries proved stronger than me: after finally seeing several cherries through to their chocolate-drenched conclusion, most of them had holes which leached goo like the blood from battlefield wounds. Some died on the table. The ones I patched up in triage were misshapen and monstrous looking, more Frankenstein than delightful dessert.

When I was weighing whether or not to package them up anyway, I noticed to my chagrin that they had developed a case of “bloom,” a separation of the chocolate solids, making them even less attractive (if that were possible) and serving as a ringing note of failure in my epic cherry-making disaster. Finally, when I checked on them this afternoon, I found that the remaining chocolate shells had imploded in a tide of cherry effluvia, apparently preferring to take their own lives rather than continue on in ignominy. They expired on December 17th, 2004 around 2:33 p.m. They are entombed forever in two little Tupperware sepulchers.

After I had become obsessed, I penned my version of Heart of Darkness:

My journey into the jungle of confection continues. The walls of candy are closing in on me, threatening to tip me into the abyss of madness. The world runs in rivers of blood-red syrup and stark white fondant, blending in a failure of bad science and too little time.

The natives are getting restless, and I can feel the thrum-thrum-thrumming of drunk cherries, lolling like corpses in their watery tomb of sugar and spirits, condemning me, accusing me. The cold marble slab upon which I sacrificed two balls of fondant lies awaiting me like my own bier.

Each step takes time, and I have none to spare. I fear that I may not survive this trip. I fear the jungle is stronger than I am.

The horror… the horror…

That just about sums it up.

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QUENBY MOONE used to be a graphic designer who wrote once in a while. After her father came down with a touch of Stage IV prostate cancer, she became a writer who did graphic design once in a while.

She's written a book called Living in Twilight (no relation to vampires - unless dying of cancer is a part of Edward's story) in which her design skills came in handy, and includes some of her stories featured on The Nervous Breakdown.

59 responses to “The $9.00 Box of Cherries”

  1. This is the funniest misadventure I’ve read in awhile! And proof that I’ve long known what I was talking about whenever I’ve announced I’ll never make anything that requires a candy thermometer. Also, you exhibit here a level of obsessiveness that I can truly appreciate. Thanks to Ronlyn’s terrific “Handmade Beloved,” I’m intent on sewing zombie chickens for holiday gifts (who wouldn’t want this?!), and I suspect this project will result in similarly comic missteps. Wish me luck.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Both obsessiveness and a lack of coherent method. Truly remarkable.

      I would like seven zombie chickens, please! I have given up Christmas crap-making for this year, but I will perhaps raise the flag again next year once I’ve had time to gather up a good head of steam and some other remarkably bad idea.

      You know, I raised chickens (they weren’t zombies to the best of my knowledge–but they WERE destructive like zombies) and the tale unfolds with an obsessive similarity to the cherries that should have me running to the nearest shrink but which I also fear is the reason I write. I can’t question it too deeply or I’ll perhaps lose my only true gift: craziness.

      Good luck with your chickens!

    • Matt says:

      Ummm….I’ve been a (mostly) good boy this year….

  2. Matt says:

    I have a massive sweet tooth, but I learned through anecdotes like this one that it’s better to stick with baked goods when it comes to do-it-yourself home sweets. My peanut butter chip snickerdoodles are waaaaaaaaayy more cooperative than your fondant, for sure.

    However, I probably would have tried to eat that stone ball of boiled sugar. An addiction is a terrible, terrible thing.

    I really hate the way some cookbooks and recipes just assume you know what certain terms mean. Drives me nuts when I’m trying to figure out how to make something new.

    Strange coincidence: cherries and cherry juice are supposed to help alleviate the symptoms of people with my current medical condition. And yep, it’s December and they’re currently out of season. Damn it.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Trader Joe’s sells cherry cider! Get thee to a TJ’s, sir!

      Also, hippie stores sometimes have cherry juice…although I don’t like the sound of “current medical condition.” *Thinks there’s a story around TNB which might explain “CMC”*

      You would have broken all your teeth on that ball of fondant. Which wouldn’t have bothered you until the rush subsided, but then you’d come down pretty hard and things would never be the same.

      I cracked a tooth on a Heath Bar once. Whole tooth just shattered like a wine glass. Luckily, my sweet tooth is pretty well tamed or I might be a toothless old hag prematurely. And can you believe I just threw away the cherries without even tasting them? I think I was so profoundly defeated by the depths of my failure that I just turned away in grief as I threw them in the garbage.

      Although the leftover cherry brandy went well over ice cream.

      • Matt says:

        Yeah, there’s a little grocery at the end of my street that sells bottled, no-additives-included cherry juice. Good stuff, but for $4 a bottle I wish I was getting more than 20 ounces.

        I’ve seen the Trader Joe’s cherry cider but not yet tried it, as the last time I was in a TJs it was in the middle of pre-Thanksgiving madness and I had to get out there before I lost my shit and stuffed some eco-trendy yuppie asshole face-first into the organic fair-trade coffee grinder.

        Oh, I wouldn’t have tried to bite that fondant, just licked it obsessively like a horse with a salt block. Kind of giving myself cravings just thinking about it.

        Mmmm….boozy ice cream….

  3. Zara Potts says:

    What? Cherries out of season in December??! You are living in the wrong hemisphere, Quenby!! Cherries are a Christmas staple here, I’m actually having trouble bending my mind around the fact that you don’t get to eat summer fruit at Christmas – I guess that’s one of the benefits of having Christmas in the summer, we may not get snow, but we get strawberries.

    i love this piece. You have such a wonderful story telling way. It feels like a rich conversation to me, full of laughter and luscious descriptions. Loved this – you have helped me get into the yuletide spirit with your confectioner’s heart!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I know! I thought of you when I was putting this up and thinking “Zara wouldn’t have this problem. Lucky Zara! Curse that hemisphere!” as I seethed with cherry jealousy.

      We get strawberries in December too, but I think they’re more akin to little hard grey rocks with strawberry seeds stuck to the outside. I don’t know how we got to the place where we thought we could get any kind of fruit at any time of year but it’s ridiculous.

      If you could beam me some delightful holiday confections, I’d be mighty obliged! My yuletide spirit is wrapped in curmudgeonly annoyance with the saccharine tunes bleating out of every speaker in every store right now.

      • Zara Potts says:

        I’m going to beam you chocolate covered strawberrycherry thoughts all day long!

        Ugh on the saccharine tunes…so far, I have avoided the Christmas carol overload.. but it’s only a matter of time.

        It is a weird thing going into the shops in December here, where they are all decorated with fake snow and burning yule logs, while outside everyone is wearing tank tops and jandals and smelling of coconut suntan oil. I’ve always found it strange. I think a Down Under Christmas would be a very weird thing for anyone from the Northern hemisphere to experience!

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I will soon experience the tropical Christmas because we’re flying out to Hawaii on Xmas day, where, rumor has it, they celebrate Christmas with the seriousness of a heart attack. I’m excited about it because it seems so completely surreal! Those reindeer must be expiring of heat exhaustion by the time they get over the Pacific Islands!

          I’ll be thinking of you while I’m there, smelling coconut oil and looking at beach pareos with jolly holiday tunes and lots of Spam. It will be a nice symmetry!

    • Matt says:

      Think about what it’s like for us trying to imagine Christmas in the summertime.

      I mean, that’s just weird.

  4. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    With candy, timing and temperature is everything. I still can’t figure out how to orchestrate the cook, stir, pour sequence for pralines. I know that there is a “sound” that the mixture makes when stirring, which is the clue to start spooning it on wax paper. I have, however, figured out how to make a mad batch of caramels. I’ll have my period of Zen over the stove this week for those.

    Kudos for you for even trying to make the cherries. You got a good story out of it!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      It is a true gift. I can’t believe the level of hubris I manifested in my quest for candy; if you can make one single type of candy, I bow before your greater wisdom.

      Good luck over the fires this week! I hope there are no battlefield updates like mine in the offing!

  5. Erika Rae says:


    Well, I’m sorry, Quenby, but you’re just so cute and funny and then you’re talking about The Bun emptying the cabinet of its pilaf and the fondant like a cue ball and I just lost it. I don’t mean to laugh. I really don’t. Good luck with your presents this year, sweetie.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      You can’t screw up presents if you don’t make any! That’s my modus operandi this year.

      And what sort of evil trickery are you up to? I’m sure the Martha Stewart in you is just lurking, waiting to get out and show me up! Curse you in advance!

      No, really. Pretty much anyone should laugh at me. This was epic catastrophe, but one which sadly I’m acquainted with all too often. Big dreams, small brains, that’s my problem.

      • Erika Rae says:

        I’m making trivets and truffles this year, thank you very much, if not for any other reason than that they sound like they go together. The trivets are out of sliced corks and then sewn together into funky patterns. At least, that’s the idea. Haven’t actually made one yet, but they look sort of cool online and since I have no money and loads of corks, I thought…what the hell. Also haven’t actually made a truffle before either. Could be ugly. I will heartily avoid cherries and fondant, whatever the case.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          Trivets and Truffles sounds like a Disney musical! It’s perfect. I think you should see if Dick Van Dyke is available for a dance number!

          As to your quest for trivet glory, just remember–“soft ball” stage is between 235 and 240 degrees exactly, and since you don’t need a temperature gauge for a trivet, I think you’re golden. Truffles sound intimidating, but once bitten…

          (Now you have a bad metal song by “Great White” in your head, don’t you?)

  6. Art Edwards says:

    “Little gift boxes of botulism probably don’t go over very well.”

    You never know. I’m always surprised by what people like and don’t in a Christmas present.

    Off to the mall!


    • Quenby Moone says:

      I will make sure the next time I come up with some unholy idea for gift-giving, I will give you the failures. Maybe you can make it into something like a chemical weapon!

  7. Ashley Menchaca (New Orleans Lady) says:

    All I can do is thank you for this one.
    I laughed, out loud, through this entire post.

    Suddenly, painting everyone a picture doesn’t seem like such a bad idea…

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I think painting pictures is brilliant, and I highly commend you on your greater wisdom. The only trouble you can get into with paint is covering yourself with it, which, on balance, is a small price to pay for your dignity.

      Thank you. I love it when people laugh (at me)!

  8. Judy Prince says:

    Loved this, QB!

    I way recommend kneading one’s fondant, BTW.

    A suggestion for your next holiday baking: Have you tried using Pyrex?

      • Judy Prince says:

        Gloria, there may’ve been the odd bit of Pyr(otechnic)ex in all of that paraphernalia she used for her bloody cherry wotsit delight thingie……can we be certain that there was not? The curse, the curse—–it has overwrought her and who knows……she might exPYREX! We must protect her, Gloria!

        Now to bake my carrot bread/fruitcake aka English Christmas pudding . . . . . yes, my friends, in a big PYREX baking dish!

        A huge white cat approaches the catflap…..will it enter the kitchen? Will it wreak havoc in this newlywed couple’s house? Is it part of the PYREX curse? Should I fling the PYREX dish at it?!

        AIYEEEEE!!! (as they say in thriller comix)

        To be continued . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        • Judy Prince says:

          QB, we took the (Pyrex-baked) carrot bread/fruitcake English Christmas pudding out of the oven an hour ago, and I just ate a slice of it. It’s a bit too moist, but rather delish! No creature flung itself through the catflap, all’s quiet here at midnight, only the sound of Rodent walking around upstairs. Do you suppose the Pyrex curse is ended?

    • Quenby Moone says:

      The Pyrex and I have such an ignoble history that I question whether I should pick it up ever again. And yet, the person for whom I delivered all those messages seems to have gotten them–maybe my curse is ended?

      Kneading fondant just sounds plum dirty, Judy.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Your Pyrex curse may have fled you, dear QB, and attached itself to me. We shall see, as I begin the carrot bread/fruitcake aka English Christmas pudding. If you don’t hear from me in several days……

        Oh, right, I sooooo meant what you soooooo thought I meant re kneading one’s fondant. Hadn’t thought of introducing plums into the…um… mix, though, QB. Might try it.

  9. D.R. Haney says:

    I love the tip of the hat to Conrad at the end.

    Did you ever, by any chance, see the L’il Rascals episode about making taffy? I had an experience, as a child, not unlike it, though my “taffy” never hardened enough for the pulling stage. But I certainly left a nice mess behind me.

    I no longer experiment in the kitchen, I’m pleased to report.

  10. Gloria says:

    I’m finally reading this. But I wanted to say first that your lede on the front page is brilliant.

  11. Greg Olear says:

    Next year, go with the botulism bottles, I say.

    But seriously: great piece, as usual, and you made me remember how much I love these kinds of cherries. I don’t like cherries, in fact, unless they are drunk on brandy and slathered in chocolate.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Drunk cherries are heaven and hell mixed together, one of the most intoxicating combinations on earth. I love the little devils though I know they’re bad for me.

      In fact, any chocolate which has booze in it is like catnip to me. I don’t even have a sweet tooth. That is until Christmas when all the boozy candy comes out of hiding to tempt me. Seriously, I eat ice cream like three times a year and then all the sudden: Brandy Beans, chocolate rum balls, chocolate Grand Marnier booze bottles. It’s evil.

      It’s no wonder the cherries conquered me. I was so in love that I couldn’t think straight.

      Thanks, Boss. I will find some cherries and eat them and think of you across the country loving drunk fruit too.

  12. I was just about to go shopping for my Christmas ingredients and now I’m a bit apprehensive… My suggestion, though, is to make the egg nog first. Once you’ve drunk that (and I make mine with a lot of whiskey) the rest of the process seems like a wonderful dream, until you set fire to the house.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Fire…to the house. Check.

      That will be next in my list of things to do. It would have saved me from the small cherry funeral at the end of the process; funeral pyre instead! It solves so many problems, really.

      I will need to make the egg nog before trying anything else.

      Thanks for the head’s up!

  13. Simon Smithson says:

    So… you’re going to send some through, right?

    Also: I dream of making my own caramel apples. Wikihow.com will show me the way.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Ha. My friend, you would not want the misshapen, scarred, miserable wretches that were my confections. They were Elephant Men to M&M’s, Flipper Babies to Truffles. You would flee, or turn away in horror.

      NO, my friend. I will be kind and NOT send some your way.

      Good luck on the apples! I see great things in your writing future! And I want photographic documentation.

  14. Irene Zion says:


    I’d never heard of “bloom” in regards to chocolate before, but I suppose that is because I never tried to make such a glorious thing.

    I have a picture to send you, if I can find it, and, if I can find your address. We have a lot in common.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Oh, Irene. I can’t WAIT!

      “Bloom” should be something beautiful, right? A lovely unfolding flower revealing a delicate wonder of nature, not a revelation of destruction and misery.

      Lesson learned.

      I suppose I can wait for this picture until you return from Dubai, which, I have to admit, sounds warm and interesting. Have fun there and I will wait with bated breath for the stories here on TNB.

  15. Irene Zion says:


    It’s not in my computer, must’ve been a polaroid.
    I’ll try to find it when we get home.
    We’re in Dubai now.

  16. Last night I watched Martha Stewart’s Christmas special because I am a masochist. She made homemade eggnog that had 39 egg yolks and quarts and quarts of milk and cream and several different kinds of liquor. Brands of liquor that I as an adult have never even purchased let alone tasted. I doubt my taste buds would distinguish between the dollar amounts of brandies, but Martha’s sure can. Naturally, Martha said the raw eggs were fresh and safe because they came from her hens. I’m pretty sure she also collected her own milk from the cows and made her own fresh cream. She didn’t, however, mention a distillery on the property and I can’t help but feeling a little disappointed. Still, I raised my own store bought glass of eggnog to her…. after years of trying to replicate some simple home made gifts in hopes to save money — I have finally relented and admitted that I can no longer afford to craft.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Martha is enough to make anyone feel inferior. I mean, how can any single human be so profoundly dedicated to the household arts? Isn’t making things perfectly, every single time, BORING? Maybe she’s trying to kill her family with all the cholesterol in her Nog. I like to think there’s some secret malevolent plan underneath all those doilies. What else could doilies be good for?

      My house looks like this right now: scraps of paper, LEGO pieces, half-sharpened pencils, dog toys, crumbs on the tablecloth. You could accuse me of slovenliness, but not harboring any ill will. I’m pretty sure Martha is up to no good; there’s no other explanation for that level of perfection.

      I will raise my non-perfect glass of hoppy beer with you and your store bought egg nog. Although it’s only ten am right now–I should wait until at least eleven.

  17. Reno j. Romero says:


    oh, man, where do i start. this was by far one of the funniest stories i’ve read in a while. lord have mercy! you are a great writer and you had me all the way until the end. so funny. so many great lines. and the Bun! ha! double ha! your details are great and me (and like everyone else who read this tale i assume) was there with you at the store, in the kitchen, the Bun ripping through the cupboard. great story. you have an eye for the funnies and that’s an art unto itself. thanks, quenby. i’m gonna send this link to some folk who i think will enjoy this wild xmas adventure. happy holidays.

    reno romero

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Reno, your praise is awesomely high! Thank you! I’m cheered that you appreciate The Bun–though so as to not scar him permanently we have stopped calling him that (in public). I wonder sometimes if my husband just sits back out of the way as I go spinning through yet another obsession. It’s amazing how many tales similar to this I can recount, though not all of them end as epically bad as this one.

      You can be guaranteed that the chicken saga has some similarities.

      Anyway, chickens are for another day.

      Thank you, Mr. Romero. Glad I could bring some Xmas horror to the table.

  18. Gloria says:

    You have no idea how badly I’d like some brandied cherries right about now.

  19. […] brandied cherries didn’t turn out well.  She sometimes takes jokes a bit too […]

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