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Quote of the Day: Bonus Edition, April 16, 2017

 

My grandmother Molly could be a rather stern old lady. She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898. She died in 1988, long-lived, like many in my family.

If I were to tell you just one thing about Granny, it would be this: She. Never. Gave. In. Every morning she was even remotely able, she got out of bed, put on her combinations (don’t ask), hauled and strapped herself into her corset and girdle, put on her old-fashioned womanly clothes, did her hair and her face, and went out to meet the day.

Most who knew her, I’m sure, thought of her as a redoubtable and unyielding old lady, one it was better not to cross, a pillar of rectitude, and a stalwart of her much-loved church.

But sometimes, I knew a very different Granny. A cuddly Granny. A snuggly Granny. One who always had a space in her bed, early in the morning, for her first, and much loved, grandchild. And one whose dressing-table top drawer, located just within reach of the bed, always held a cornucopia of delights.

You see, my granny always had lots of chocolates. Chocolate bars. Chocolate buttons. Plain chocolates. Filled chocolates. Chocolate-covered fruits and nuts. Chocolates of every shape and size.

And this little girl liked nothing better on a Sunday morning than to crawl into her granny’s bed and be allowed the joy of investigating them all, and to pick out one or two as a treat.

It ruined me for life.

But it probably explains why, as a child, Easter was my favorite Church holiday, up to, and including, even Christmas.

Yes, I loved the children’s service at Granny’s parish church. I loved the hymns, the music (sometimes Grandpa played the organ) and the rituals. I loved the flowers, and the scents. I loved coming back to Granny’s for Sunday lunch. But just as much, I confess, I loved the chocolates.

Of course, Cadbury’s, the first English company to mass-produce Easter eggs, was the home-grown favorite, as they were manufactured down the road from Granny, in Bournville, just outside Birmingham. Additionally, the cows in the field at the bottom of the garden of our own home in Worcestershire generously sent their milk off to the Cadbury factory. (Like Joseph Fry and Joseph Rowntree, two other great English chocolate makers, John Cadbury was a Quaker. Their enlightened and humane treatment of their workers, their interest in education and their workers’ living conditions, their attempts to improve the sometimes barbarous collection of the essential cocoa beans in far-flung lands, inspired their American counterpart, Milton Hershey to do likewise, a bit later on).

I don’t think the Easter egg I still dream about was a Cadbury product, though. I don’t know who made it. But it was the most beautiful and special chocolate thing I’d ever seen or eaten in my life.

It was a fairly large egg. It was a hollow egg, in two halves, perfectly fitted together. It was filled with really nice, and really delicious, chocolates. And it was decorated with candied violets and rosebuds (real ones), together with iced leaves and trailing vines. And it was wrapped in cellophane that rustled and crinkled when you touched it. And the whole thing was tied up in a huge bow with an enormous length of wide yellow ribbon. It almost makes me cry just thinking about it.

Oh, I’ve had lots of lovely chocolates in my life. And I’ve never really minded how I came by them. As Valentine gifts from my Sweetie. As presents from family members and friends who indulge my not-so-secret weakness. As surprises from admirers, probably with ulterior motives (well, maybe just one ulterior motive), who sent them, carefully packaged and boxed, through the mail. (Ha! Those were the days.) On occasion, I’m ashamed to admit, when I’ve run out, or when people have forgotten about me, I’ve even been reduced to buying them for myself. “Sad!” As I might Tweet, if were ever to do such a ridiculous thing.

But in over half a century, I’ve never seen, or tasted, a chocolate treat as magnificent, as beautiful, and as delicious as the egg that graced Granny’s table one Easter when I was about five years old.

Much time has passed since then, and, in the words of the creaky and ancient song that Granny loved so much, “Darling I am growing old.” And I doubt I’m unique in worrying about what sort of “footprint” I will leave to the world. Will I have made a difference? Will I matter? Has anyone noticed? Will anyone care?

Fortunately for me, a recent event has refreshed my optimism, and convinced me that the answer to all those questions, undeserving as I doubtless am of it, might actually be, “Yes.”

As some of you may know, I’m a granny myself, of a smart, kind, and beautiful nine-year old. She lives about 125 miles away, and I don’t see her nearly as often as I’d like. Opportunities for snuggling, therefore, are far too infrequent. No matter. Even with the limited time available to me, I’ve made my mark and done my job. I’ve ruined her for life.

A while ago, her mother told me of a conversation she’d overheard between my granddaughter and a little friend. It went something like this:

Friend: “I wish we had some chocolates.”

Granddaughter: “We should go to my granny’s house.”

Friend: “Your granny is nice.”

Granddaughter: “Yeah. She is. I love her. And, [lowers her voice to a thrilled whisper] my granny always has lots of chocolates.”

Bingo.

Game over.

Earth turns, seasons change, and the cycle begins anew. Just as it should.

Happy Easter, everyone! And Happy one-hundred-nineteenth Birthday, my chocolate-loving granny!

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  1. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    You have the best family stories! Happy Easter

    • #1
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:03 am
    • Like12 likes
  2. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    You have the best family stories! Happy Easter

    Thanks. Happy Easter to you!

    • #2
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:10 am
    • Like6 likes
  3. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Oh, how I wish I had a Granny to blame my Chocoholism on. I’m a Lindt fan, myself, and get my Gold Bunny every year at this time, but I doubt I have ever turned down any brand, nor have I ever regretted a single bite.

    I actually feel sorry for people who don’t love chocolate as much as I do. It’s a terrible tragedy I tell you!

    Thank you for carrying that tradition forward. That is very awesome.

    • #3
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:22 am
    • Like9 likes
  4. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Love this so much, She! But here’s the most important test: milk chocolate or dark chocolate???

    • #4
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:23 am
    • Like8 likes
  5. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Love this so much, She! But here’s the most important test: milk chocolate or dark chocolate???

    Y E S

    • #5
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:24 am
    • Like10 likes
  6. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Love this so much, She! But here’s the most important test: milk chocolate or dark chocolate???

    Yes, please! But if there’s a choice, dark, every time.

    • #6
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:29 am
    • Like7 likes
  7. Profile photo of JustmeinAZ Member

    She, you have the best stories! If you wrote a book of anecdotes I would buy it and read a chapter every morning to get my day started right.

    Chocolate marshmallow bunnies – my favorite.

    • #7
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:33 am
    • Like8 likes
  8. Profile photo of Kay of MT Inactive

    As a child I didn’t care much for chocolate, so my granny taught me to make taffy. We had wonderful taffy pulling sessions. We made mint, cinnamon, and lots of different colors. Loved your story BTW. I have one grandson who also did not care for chocolate as a child. Today we are chocoholics.

    • #8
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:33 am
    • Like9 likes
  9. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    Lovely. Thank you, She.

    • #9
    • April 16, 2017 at 9:48 am
    • Like4 likes
  10. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    She, you have the best stories! If you wrote a book of anecdotes I would buy it and read a chapter every morning to get my day started right.

    Thank you very much. I’ll think about doing it. Really–I’ve only scratched the surface. I don’t know when I’ll get to Great-Grandpa Reuben Stoddard who managed a butcher’s shop in Birmingham and whose sausages were much sought-after by the gentry.

    Apparently, the facility was, as described by my father:

    equipped with a steam driven sausage machine, with fast revolving blades, powered by its own little steam engine and boiler.

    And as recorded, again by Dad:

    Grandpa’s method of lighting this boiler when he wanted to use it was, to put it mildly, eccentric. Every Saturday morning an errand boy was dispatched next door to “J. & R. Freeman’s–Chemists and Drysalters,” to purchase two pennyworth of “Black Powder.” (i.e. common gunpowder). This, Reuben poured into the firebox to prime the furnace.

    Often there was a near-explosion, and blowback with much soot. On these occasions, Grandpa appeared at breakfast looking like a chimney sweep.

    No one in my family does things by half-measures. I love that, I revel in that, I’m proud of that, and I do my best to hold up my end of the bargain whenever, and however, I can.

    I’m just very lucky to come from a long line of such characters. And I’m lucky that we’ve always recorded, in both spoken and written form, the stories of our forebears. I encourage everyone, no matter how unusual or conventional their family, to do the same. One day, your descendants will thank you.

    • #10
    • April 16, 2017 at 10:01 am
    • Like10 likes
  11. Profile photo of Stina Member

    I have a contentious relationship with chocolate. I have never been a huge, huge fan. I loved dark chocolate for a while, but after a pregnancy, I can’t eat it anymore… even in baking.

    But my Lindt bunny – I will get that every year.

    She, this was a beautiful and nostalgic piece. Colorful and perfect for Sunday afternoon.

    • #11
    • April 16, 2017 at 10:27 am
    • Like8 likes
  12. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Stina (View Comment):
    But my Lindt bunny – I will get that every year.

    Yay Stina! I am so glad I started that tradition with my kids. As adults, they still do it. I know Easter is far more than candy, but I’d feel like something was missing from my Easter if Gold Bunny wasn’t sitting on my table on Easter Morning.

    • #12
    • April 16, 2017 at 10:31 am
    • Like5 likes
  13. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    Winsome, wise and wonderful, She! (Would you like Sno-Caps or something else for upcoming festivities?)

    • #13
    • April 16, 2017 at 10:42 am
    • Like3 likes
  14. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Winsome, wise and wonderful, She! (Would you like Sno-Caps or something else for upcoming festivities?)

    Mmmm. That’s a thought. Thanks.

    • #14
    • April 16, 2017 at 10:47 am
    • Like4 likes
  15. Profile photo of Jules PA Member

    “I love her and she always has chocolate.” (two facts not necessarily dependent on one another.)

    My granmom always had sour balls and those pastel mints from a long box.

    • #15
    • April 16, 2017 at 11:45 am
    • Like7 likes
  16. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    “I love her and she always has chocolate.” (two facts not necessarily dependent on one another.)

    So true.

    My granmom always had sour balls and those pastel mints from a long box.

    I love those pastel mints!

    I’m a very lucky Granny–here was my Valentine’s Day card from a couple of years ago–a clever acrostic, and a grammatically correct double negative. (And she doesn’t even mention the chocolate). What more could I ask?

    • #16
    • April 16, 2017 at 11:56 am
    • Like11 likes
  17. Profile photo of Sandy Member

    Go, Granny! I am sorry that your little one is so far off, but you have probably cemented the relationship for all time.

    I saw my maternal grandmother only in the summer, and then for short periods, but she made a permanent and large impression, for which I will always be grateful. I hope your granddaughter is a writer, too.

    • #17
    • April 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm
    • Like5 likes
  18. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    My grandmother was born and died the same years as yours. She was from the Azores, though. With her it wasn’t chocolate but sweet bread and other candies. I miss her.

    • #18
    • April 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm
    • Like8 likes
  19. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    She (View Comment):
    No one in my family does things by half-measures. I love that, I revel in that, I’m proud of that, and I do my best to hold up my end of the bargain whenever, and however, I can.

    Hold up your end of the bargain, but remember: never, ever cut a cable under tension, no matter how “efficient” you think that’ll be. Just sayin’…

    • #19
    • April 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm
    • Like8 likes
  20. Profile photo of Quietpi Member

    Mrs. QuietPI endorses your axiom.

    Dark.

    125 miles? Our nearest are almost five times that. But when distance is a barrier, I have one word…

    Skype.

    • #20
    • April 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm
    • Like6 likes
  21. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Quietpi (View Comment):125 miles? Our nearest are almost five times that. But when distance is a barrier, I have one word…

    Skype.

    • #21
    • April 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm
    • Like15 likes
  22. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    I usually buy Gertrude Hawk chocolates for Easter. I love their Smidgens.

    Have you ever read Roald Dahl’s autobiography Boy?

    He describes how the Cadbury factory in the town where his boarding school inspired Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Every now and then, a plain, grey cardboard box was dished out to each boy in our House, and this, believe it or not, was a present from the great chocolate manufacturers Cadbury. Inside the box there were twelve bars of chocolate, all of different shapes, all with different fillings and all with numbers from one to twelve stamped underneath. Eleven of these bars were new inventions from the factory. The twelfth was the ‘control’ bar, one that we all knew well, usually a Cadbury’s Coffee Cream bar. Also in the box was a sheet of paper with the numbers one to twelve on it as well as two blank columns, one for giving marks to each chocolate from nought to ten, and the other for comments.

    All we were required to do in return for this splendid gift was to taste very carefully each bar of chocolate, give it marks, and make an intelligent comment on why we liked or disliked it. (continued)

    • #22
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm
    • Like9 likes
  23. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    It was a clever stunt. Cadbury’s were using some of the greatest chocolate-bar experts in the world to test out their new inventions. We were of a sensible age, between thirteen and eighteen, and we knew intimately every chocolate bar in existence, from the Milk Flake to the Lemon Marshmallow. Quite obviously our opinions on anything new would be valuable. All of us entered into this game with great gusto, sitting in our studies and nibbling each bar with the air of connoisseurs, giving our marks and making our comments. ‘Too subtle for the common palate’ was one note that I remember writing down.

    For me the importance of all this was that I began to realize that the large chocolate companies actually did possess inventing rooms and they took their inventing very seriously. I used to picture a long white room like a laboratory, with pots of chocolate and fudge and all sorts of other delicious fillings bubbling away on the stoves, while men and women in white coats moved between the bubbling pots, tasting and mixing and concocting their wonderful new inventions.

    (continued)

    • #23
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm
    • Like6 likes
  24. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    I used to imagine myself working in one of these labs, and suddenly I would come up with something so unbearably delicious that I would grab it in my hand and go rushing out of the lab and along the corridor and right into the offices of the great Mr Cadbury himself. ‘I’ve got it, Sir,’ I would shout, putting the chocolate in front of him. ‘It’s fantastic! It’s fabulous! It’s marvellous! It’s irresistible!’ Slowly the great man would pick up my newly-invented chocolate and he would take a small bite. He would roll it round his mouth. Then all at once he would leap from his chair crying, ‘You’ve got it! You’ve done it! It’s a miracle!’ He would slap me on the back and shout, ‘We’ll sell it by the million! We’ll sweep the world with this one! How on earth did you do it? Your salary is doubled.’

    • #24
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm
    • Like13 likes
  25. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Then all at once he would leap from his chair crying, ‘You’ve got it! You’ve done it! It’s a miracle!’ He would slap me on the back and shout, ‘We’ll sell it by the million! We’ll sweep the world with this one! How on earth did you do it? Your salary is doubled.’

    Awesome. Thanks, Mama.

    • #25
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm
    • Like4 likes
  26. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    No one in my family does things by half-measures. I love that, I revel in that, I’m proud of that, and I do my best to hold up my end of the bargain whenever, and however, I can.

    Hold up your end of the bargain, but remember: never, ever cut a cable under tension, no matter how “efficient” you think that’ll be. Just sayin’…

    That sounds like excellent advice, Boss. In some circumstances, I might want to look and see who was hanging from the other end of it before making a final decision, though.

    • #26
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm
    • Like8 likes
  27. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She Post author

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    Mrs. QuietPI endorses your axiom.

    Dark.

    125 miles? Our nearest are almost five times that. But when distance is a barrier, I have one word…

    Skype.

    Yeah. I didn’t want to clog up the story with extraneous details, but I spent most of the first ten years of my life in Nigeria, and very, very rarely got to spend time with Granny, Grandpa, or any family in England. The impact that the two of them had on my life is very much in inverse proportion to the actual time I spent with them. (There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I think . . . )

    Skype is great! When I was a kid, if we wanted immediacy in communication, we sent a telegram . . ,

    • #27
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm
    • Like3 likes
  28. Profile photo of El Colonel Contributor

    Did the chocolates work? I mean, well, you know…

    My wife’s grandmother loved chocolate covered cherries. It was always a welcome gift. With my grandmother, I think the cigarettes killed off those urges, She still lived to 89. My memories of her go to playing cards – wist, hearts, cribbage – always for money. She was good.

    And she kept her winnings. Her lesson? Get more change from your father.

    • #28
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm
    • Like7 likes
  29. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    This post is part of our Quote of the Day series. We still have a couple of open dates for April! You can participate by signing up here: https://ricochet.com/419286/quote-of-the-day-signup-and-schedule-for-april-2017/

    • #29
    • April 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm
    • Like1 like
  30. Profile photo of 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    This story reminds me of my mom. You see, when you leave this mortal coil, all your secrets come out. We found out that my mom’s sister used to send her boxes of Opera Creams from Wertz Candy in Lebanon, PA. We never saw them, my dad never saw them. They were a secret treat between sisters.

    When my dad turned 80, we gave him a surprise party. (It’s then that I found out he had never had a birthday party before.) At each place setting at all the tables was a little box of Wertz Opera Creams, and I told the story of mom’s secret delight. It was like she was there at the party with us.

    • #30
    • April 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm
    • Like10 likes
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