My Name Is Jimmy & I Have An Australian Licorice Problem

I don’t know why it took the Australians to crack the code, but I freaking love their licorice. Best in the world. Just the perfect combination of soft and chewy and flavorful. I discovered the Wiley Wallaby brand at my local ACE Hardware store. In the same way that independent bookstores carry earrings and plush toys and birthday gifts and kites, ACE carries aisles of Carhartt clothing, plus specialty sodas and, yes, Australian licorice.

As documented previously, I painted my house this summer and found myself in ACE several times a week. Wood filler, sandpaper, paint brushes, window glaze, rope, and so on.

And while I was there, if my resistance was low, I’d grab a bag of Wiley Wallaby’s “classic red” licorice.

After about 8 weeks, I finished painting the house. My trips to ACE slowed. It put me in a quandary. I couldn’t go to the hardware store just to buy licorice. How would that look? So I’d be alert for shortages of ice melt or leaf bags, that kind of thing, any excuse for a quick trip to ACE.

“Propane low? I’m on it!”

One day I plucked up my courage and tried the “green apple” flavor. Not bad. It was like an autumn trip to the orchard. Plus they made great stocking stuffers.

Soon I began to devise elaborate home-improvement projects just so I could buy more licorice.

Honey, I’ve going to lay down a fresh bead of bathroom caulk!

Off to ACE Hardware!

Honey, I’m thinking about removing that old wallpaper from the hallway!

Off to ACE Hardware!

Honey, I’m going to rewire a vintage entry lantern by the front door!


(Maybe I shouldn’t mess with electricity.)

The problem is, I’m not good at this stuff. My default is shiftlessness and sloth. I don’t even own many tools. I once mashed my thumb with a hammer and I don’t want that to happen again. All I really want to do is sit in my chair and read books. But the licorice is so darned good.

Honey, I’m thinking we need a bomb shelter in the backyard. I just don’t like what I’m hearing from North Korea. I’ll be back in a minute. Just need to run to ACE for a few supplies . . . .


  1. Robin says:

    I’ll steal this for a picture book if you don’t use it.

  2. James Preller says:

    It’s all yours, Robin!

  3. Lisa L. says:

    I could have written that post, Jimmy, except in Warwick it’s Wadeson’s hardware store, and my home DIY expertise is limited to changing light bulbs. Any burnt-out light bulb is a happy excuse to go to Wadeson’s and scan the selection of Wiley’s Wallaby licorice. Try the mixed berry assortment. You can thank me in person on Saturday, October 7th (Warwick Children’s Book Festival!)

    • jimmy says:

      Not if you are stuck behind a cash register all day! Remember, it’s your job as host as take your time, talk to the authors & illustrators, visit, be present. We miss you terribly when you are just lifting and carrying and worrying and tasking all day.

      • Lisa Laico says:

        Heard and understood – I’ll be able to leave the lifting, carrying, worrying and tasking to others this year!

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