It occurred to me the other day that there's no justice in the world. The Yankees and Phillies aren't going to make it to the World Series. The Boston Red Sox collapsed in September and never even made it to the play offs. And the Mets haven't done anything dramatic in years except to find unique ways to lose.
These are mild injustices in the scheme of things because the greatest injustice of them all is my inability to find Smucker's Cherry Preserves on any supermarket shelf in New Jersey. I am a snowbird and spend my summer up north. It never occurred to me that no New Jersey supermarket within a ten-mile radius of where I live bothers to stock up on my beloved breakfast narcotic.
Isn't it amazing how we take certain things for granted? For years I took my daily fix of Smucker's Cherry Preserves for granted. I could always find this antidote to plain toast in any store anywhere. Until I stopped being able to find it. It started innocently enough. My wife came home one day from shopping and told me that she wasn't able to find Smucker's Cherry Preserves in the jam and jelly section. "Must be out of stock," she said. "I'll pick it up next time."
I was slightly annoyed but not panic stricken because this had never happened before. But we still had a half full jar at home and I was convinced that we'd add to our inventory the next time she went shopping.
But she came home empty handed the next time she went shopping. And the time after that. When she made inquiries to the store manager she was told that the product just didn't seem to be in stock at the present time. That was the only reason she was given, not that Smucker's had gone out of business. Or that it stopped making Cherry Preserves. Or that a drought appeared in cherry growing regions in the country. Just that it was out of stock.
We assumed that this meant Smucker's Cherry Preserves would soon be back in stock up north at the supermarkets we shop at. But it never came back. Never.
Just when I had given up on ever seeing SCP again I was casually strutting through a Publix in Fort Myers when a miracle happened. There was SCP on the shelf. I quickly bought a dozen and then tried to sneak four of the treasured jars through security at the Fort Myers airport to take back to New Jersey. All the bells and whistles went off and I wound up having to confiscate the four jars I had earmarked for my New Jersey fridge or be arrested as a terrorist suspect and returned back north empty-handed.
This is when another miracle took place. I wrote a column about my airport confiscation tragedy, it got to the attention of the CEO of Smucker's and I got a case of SCP as a gift from that generous individual. But a year has passed, I have gone through the entire case of SCP and I have none left. And none are to be found on the shelves of ShopRite in Somerset, New Jersey. What am I to do?
I cannot prevail on the kindness and generosity of Smucker's CEO. I cannot go back to him with my tail between my legs and throw myself at his mercy. I must manage to find SCP somewhere. I may need a treasure map of New Jersey supermarkets but my journey must begin soon. If I don't find more Smucker's SCP I will be a broken man with broken taste buds. Help, somebody, help me.