The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

A Sweet Memory


Yesterday evening, I consumed the last slice of the Dark Chocolate Orange my wife had given to me on Easter morning.  She has given me a Dark Chocolate Orange every year at Easter for our whole married life.  I appreciate her kindness in doing this.

When I was a very young kid (perhaps ~4 years old or so when I first remember this), I recall my Mom receiving a similar chocolate orange from my Dad at Easter.  From that earliest age that I can recall, when my Mom ate a thin, delicate slice of that candy, a very warm, joyful, and happy smile spread across her face.  I remember being either four or five and asking my Mom for a slice of this candy.  

When she gave me a piece, I tried it, and really DID NOT like it at all.  I, like most, very much liked chocolate at that young age.  And, I was anticipating the sort of taste I was used to from the candies I had experienced, like a Hershey Bar, or a Nestle Crunch Bar.  

But the Dark Chocolate Orange was.... as the name suggests.... made from DARK chocolate.  Most young kids I know even to this day dislike dark chocolate because to them it often tastes bitter.  Additionally.... the Dark Chocolate Orange.... again as the name suggests... was also infused with orange flavor as well.  Oranges were one of the very few fruits I disliked as a kid.  It was not so much the "flavor" of an orange that I did not like, but I did not like how eating an orange made my teeth feel..... odd and "funny".  

That negative "feeling" I felt from eating an actual orange seemed logical to attribute to the acidity of the fruit itself.... but.... it is actually something different.  Because, I relish eating other acidic citrus fruits..... grapefruit especially, but also limes, and lemons and even tangerines.  Even to this day, while I do now eat oranges, I still am not fond of the something in them that still makes my teeth feel "funny".   When I do eat oranges today, I almost inevitably brush my teeth shortly afterwards.  

So... back to the Dark Chocolate Orange.... when I tried the slice my Mom gave to my very young self, I was hit by a "double whammy" of flavors I disliked.... the "dark" aspect and the "orange" aspect..... both seemed "yucky" and I spit out the chocolate and did not want any more.  My Mom was a bit amused at my reaction.

But, I always DID love to see that special sort of especially joyful smile on my Mom's face when she would eat a slice of her Dark Chocolate Orange.  Her smile made me feel happy too.   

Although over the intervening years, I would occasionally try a slice of my Mom's Dark Chocolate Orange at Easter-time, I never actually liked it.  It was not until I was first in college and was feeling rather homesick that the Dark Chocolate Orange became something I enjoyed.  This was during the Fall Semester of my Freshman year.  Being away from home was NOT something I really ever WANTED.  But, I knew college was IMPORTANT and was something I needed to do.  But, it was difficult... not academically... but emotionally.  One afternoon when I was finished with classes for the day, I rode my bicycle into town and went to the local pharmacy to pick up a few things.... some pencils of a brand I especially liked, more notebook paper, a pouch of Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco, and some potato chips. Nearing the cash register, I saw a display of Dark Chocolate Oranges that were being put out in preparation for the holidays (stores seem to have these chocolate oranges around twice each year.... during the Thanksgiving/Christmas time frame, and also around the Easter timeframe).  

I impulsively grabbed a Dark Chocolate Orange and added it to the pile of the other things I was purchasing.  Back at the dorm, I took a slice of the chocolate and ate it.  Its flavors brought to my mind images of my Mom smiling in that joyful way, and in a small way it helped to decrease a bit, my feeling of homesickness.  I have been eating them at holidays ever since.  They remind me of home and happiness.  

Before we were married, when I was dating my (future) wife, I gave her a Dark Chocolate Orange at Christmas, and I explained to her the above story.  She was touched by the story and has bought me a Dark Chocolate Orange each year since.  I have continued to give her a Dark Chocolate Orange at Christmas.  

For me, the candy now tastes fully sweet and delectable and I look forward to its unique flavor.  But, the memories the taste of the candy invokes in me are actually the far more significant value.  And, eventually, when my beloved Mom passed away in 2007, the Dark Chocolate Orange my wife gave me at Easter that year (Easter was ~ 5 weeks after my Mom's passing) felt especially meaningful.  My emotions were still extremely raw and all over the map.  But, the taste of the first slice on my tongue helped to shape my emotions a bit more to focus on that happy memory of the gentle, joyful smile that would spread across my Mom's face when she tasted the candy herself.   

Every year, I savor each slice of my Dark Chocolate Orange, and relish how it stimulates in me such a beautiful memory.  

* * * * *

  • Ran 10 miles this morning (~16 km). Felt a bit tired and sluggish while running.
  • PCS = 7.  I am carrying around my Butz-Choquin in my shirt pocket today.  It just feels like I need the tactile sense of it.  Normally, I would stow it in my sportcoat pocket... but since I am not teaching today, I am not wearing a sportcoat.  Just a shirt (sans tie) for me at the U.  


Blogger Margaret said...

What a lovely story! I remember people getting those chocolate oranges, especially at Christmas. I was fascinated by them. It's interesting how our tastes change as we age. I like dark chocolate much more than I used to.

Wednesday, 03 May, 2023  
Blogger Liz Hinds said...

How wonderful! What a beautiful memory. I'm afraid I still dislike dark chocolate and though I love oranges I hate chocolate orange!

Thursday, 04 May, 2023  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

your wife giving you the chocolate gift every year is so sweet..

Thursday, 04 May, 2023  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a great post — something good to know about you and your past and present. We had a friend who liked those orange-chocolate balls, but hers weren’t dark, I don’t think. I don’t mind dark chocolate, but I can live without the orange, even though I like actual oranges.

Friday, 05 May, 2023  

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