The Raisin Rebellion of 1993

John Carr Walker

Photo Credit: LBMO/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

When my father was a child he choked on a raisin and had to be rushed to the emergency room.

When I was a child he made rules about eating raisins: I must be seated, holding still, with he or my mother watching from across the table, ready to save me. The rules applied to my parents as well. My father walked around the house eating handfuls of peanuts but never handfuls of raisins. My mother always put one last cookie in her mouth, chewing while she closed the tin, but didn’t multitask with raisins in her mouth. They seemed to believe a raisin would act maliciously if given the chance. A criminal class of food.

I suppose my father should know. He grew raisins for a living. He sat on the Sun-Maid board of trustees. My mother bought raisins from the company store in five-pound boxes; stacks of them filled the freezer in our garage. A bumper sticker on our station wagon read Raisins are Nature’s Candy—it might as well have read serial killers give angels their wings. We lived on a hundred-acre vineyard, surrounded by the murderers.

The first time my parents left me home alone overnight, I didn’t throw a kegger or invite a girl over to the house. I slept peacefully and alone, and in the morning, walked down our long driveway eating raisins, each one a dose of pure adrenaline.


John Carr Walker’s critically acclaimed story collection, Repairable Men (Sunnyoutside 2014), was a Small Press Distribution Best of the Press pick and a featured title on Late Night Library’s Debut podcast. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Prick of the Spindle, Prime Number, Eclectica, Nailed, Gravel, Hippocampus, Five2One, and Split Lip. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, was a Fishtrap Fellow in 2012, and is the founder and editor of Trachodon. A native of the San Joaquin Valley and former high school English teacher, he now lives and writes full-time in Saint Helens, Oregon. Email: jcarrwalker[at]

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