I've been thinking today about candies and chocolate: starting with light and fluffy candy; Divinity, as my grandmother made it in her 1940’s kitchen. She was one of those souls who would have something “nice to say about the Devil,” as my mother often teased her. She would wait for a clear day in December with absolute no humidity; there could be no grease on any of the cooking implements. Divinity is delicate and grease or humidity will ruin it. Yet she could not conceive of Christmas without Divinity. My mother on the other hand, never could make Divinity; she stuck with Nouget, a sort of cocoa-less fudge. It too was a light and fluffy candy -- bowing to the realities of humidity and grease, but had none of the bitterness that comes with cocoa.
My father, however, was a fan of dark chocolate. What would be marketed today as bittersweet chocoate, it is dark and rich, but leaves a bitter aftertaste. It is a drug; modern research shows that it can actually change the chemical makeup of the brain. My grandfather was much less stable and would take great and heaping spoonfuls of cocoa right from the can, leaving the dank smell of a sugarless existence in his wake.
In my latest hospital setting, I saw all these types. I saw the Divinities that could not stand up to the humidity of the tears of true grief and we just left with a sticky mess. I saw the Nougets whose cocoaless existence became cloying. I saw the Dark Godivas and Lindts; some of which were such pure cocoa that they could not melt; their bitterness and pain and agony made them rigid and frozen.
Where is there unity to be found? It seems that most of us are in that huge variety of Milk Chocolates; the gritty to the teeth cheap chocolates that satisify for a while; the Hershey’s, the ubiquitous and blandness of most people’s ordinary lives; the sublime quality of a Godiva Milk Chocolate truffle. These are to be found in a unity, forged in the smithy of the soul, of the Divinities and Nougets along with the dark and liquid pure and bittersweet cocoas.