bill-dagendesh mug

William J. Dagendesh

Anyone who loves chocolate-covered cherries will agree these gooey tastebud teasers are more than a classic candy — they are a ticket to palette paradise.

Juicy cherries, sweet fondant and rich dark chocolate figure heavily in this dessert loved by millions worldwide. Chocolate-covered cherry lovers everywhere even claim visions of heaven as these sticky-sweet snacks slide oh, so effortlessly down their throats. Egads, I am experiencing chocolate withdrawals just writing this column.

While serving with the Gosport newspaper at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., in 1981, my assistant editor and I engaged in a friendly competition involving these delectable tonsil tickers.

One day I overheard him tell our editor that he likes chocolate-covered cherries. The next day I stopped off at a small base grocery store called the Red Barn, bought two chocolate-covered cherries and presented them to my assistant editor. A couple of days later he gave me four pieces. The following week I served him five chocolate-covered cherries.

That’s when our competition spawned an interesting game of chocolate give and take. A few days later he presented me with seven beautifully wrapped chocolate-covered cherries. A day or two later I presented him with 10 pieces. Our editor watched our competition with amusement.

A short time later my assistant editor rewarded me with a small box of chocolate-covered cherries he bought at a confectioner’s shop. “Here, you can have these for your lunch,” he said as he handed me the box. Not to be outdone I presented him with a larger box. “Here, you can have these for your supper,” I replied as I placed the box on his desk with a loud “plop.”

However, my assistant editor wasn’t about to be outdone by a lowly subordinate and instead bought an expensive, elaborate three-tiered box containing 100 pieces of our favorite sweet treat. “How can I upstage this?” I wondered.

Now, I don’t like to lose when it involves chocolate-covered cherries and considered presenting him with two boxes in order to one-up him. However, this move would have inspired him to buy three boxes, thereby inspiring me to buy four boxes and… well, you get the idea. I didn’t know where I could buy a larger box and frankly, wasn’t about to try and find any.

It seemed we had gone as far as we could go. Believing the fun would go out of our game if we ventured any further, I waved the white flag. So much in presenting sweets to the sweet.

In January 1982 I left Pensacola for assignment to an admiral’s staff in Norfolk, Va. Although my assistant editor and I occasionally conversed by phone, we never got the opportunity to revisit our competition. In time we both went on to raise families, retire from the Navy and pursue our respected professions. We never saw each other again.

Despite changes in my diet and metabolism, I never outgrew my passion for chocolate-covered cherries and understandably so. Chocolate has preservatives and preservatives make you look younger. Therefore, I say, eat more chocolate.

Also, did you know chocolate-covered cherries, orange slices, raisins and strawberries count as fruit? So, eat as many of these chocolate-covered fruits as you want. In fact, write “Eat Chocolate” at the top of your daily “To-do list.” That way you will get at least one thing accomplished today.

William J. Dagendesh is an author, writer and retired U.S. Navy photojournalist and editor. He has lived in southern Colorado 20 years. Contact him at

Load comments