Many years ago, I brought my 99-year-old great aunt who was in a nursing home: a new nightgown, sweaters, a couple of paperback romance novels… and chocolate.
It was all purchased at an Oklahoman Walmart. I kept wishing I could have done more–like take her away from there, feed her something better than nursing home spaghetti. But after giving her everything, she just said thank you very matter-of-factly and reached for the chocolate. I sat there quietly, watching her peel back the silver foil, take a few bites, and throw a glint-y eye my way.
There have been lean and fat times in my life. In the fat times, I wandered about the stores and markets, hunting for the perfect gift. In the lean times, I’ve put my hands to something, whittling the hours on the details in quiet. Most of the time, in those lean years, I felt an apology in my heart as I handed over the homespun, hand-crafted package. But that was soon to leave me.
Not a year after delivering the Walmart nightgown and chocolate bars, my great aunt passed away. Memories of her bowls of M&Ms, coconut cakes, and sweetened ice tea sat with me for weeks. She had been born and had passed with a hankering for something sweet. Maybe my humble chocolate bars were a little more precious than I thought.
This Christmas, lean in many financial aspects but fat in all manners of the heart, I decided to give my grandmother homemade chocolate truffles. Like my great aunt, she has a high respect for the comforts of chocolate. Maybe it won’t solve the challenges of her living alone or the fact that the years weigh a little heavily each day. I long to do more. But she’ll know my heart, and I am sure she has a glint in her eyes waiting for me.
Happy Holidays, dear ones.
Elise McMullen-Ciotti a.k.a. The Galavant Girl