Thursday, October 13, 2011

You had me at Hershey Bar

Long ago and what now seems like in a galaxy far, far away…this man and I were sort of flirting with possibilities. A skittish friendship had evolved into long, soulful talks and clever emails. He was my Sunday School teacher in the Singles Class. He had been single again much longer than I, and our friendship began with his listening ear and calm encouragement.

His workplace was just across the street from mine and if we each looked out our windows, we could see the very same fountain. The Braves {his team} and The Cardinals {my team] were in the playoffs and there was much playful banter between us {Braves won that year, only to lose in the World Series}.

On Halloween, he sent me an email invitation to come and help hand out candy to the neighborhood children with him. 

I replied that I would be glad to…but only if he had good candy. He immediately responded that he had Twix, Reese’s Cups and Snickers.  My answer was mighty cheeky, for someone who thought she *might* actually be developing a crush. I reckoned that was sorta-kinda good candy.  If he wasn't going to have Hershey Bars with Almonds.

We agreed upon a time and I told him I would walk over to his house, which was about 5 blocks from mine. He met me at the door with a huge grin and one hand behind his back. He pulled that hand out and placed in my hand a Hershey Bar.

Then, he offered an apology. He had stopped several places on his way home and NONE of them had Hershey Bars with Almonds. Would a plain Hershey Bar do?

Do? Would it do?  I’ll say! Oh, yes sir!  It would do!

He had gone to remarkable effort to get me what I said I liked and then apologized that he had come up short. The rest of the night is somewhat of a blur.

I recall that I helped his 7 year old remove her costume makeup and she sat in my lap as we went through her stash of candy. I remember that ‘Rocky Horror’ was playing on the Comedy Channel {and I’d never seen it…quite the first movie to watch together with a 7 year old sitting in between you}.

I remember that his parents came in from Memphis about the time he put his girls to bed, so we had a different generation of chaperons. I think that they were very surprised to find a woman sitting on the couch with their firstborn. Who had said, by the way, that he would rather eat dirt than ever to be married again. Often and loudly, from what I am told.

I remember that at about 10:00 o’clock, he told his folks that he was going to drive me home and we sat on my front porch until 1:00 am, just talking. About all sorts of things. And nothing. Just talking.

When I told my best friend that I thought I could be falling in love…she cautioned me against falling for something as small as a candy bar. I think she said I ought to hold out for more. She was going through a nasty divorce and was perhaps a wee bit cynical.
Fast forward a decade and a half. That 7 year old is now in her 20s and is my hairdresser. The Candy Bar Man {aka Rocket Man} and I have been married for 13 years. And recently…he came in the house and handed me a plain Hershey Bar.
Which, he said, he had bought from a man who was selling them to try to have enough money to keep from being evicted.  The man had lost his job and was desperately trying to raise some funds to pay his rent. He’d bought a box of the chocolate bars and was asking for donations in exchange for a bar. My Rocket Man gave the man the $5 he had in his pocket and prayed for the man and brought me the sweetest Hershey Bar I have ever had.
You see, Rocket Man’s generosity to me in the form of a candy bar was just the tip of the ice burg. He is as frugal as anyone I have ever met {except maybe his mother} but he is generous and giving beyond belief. He is industrious and good at what he does in his Rocket World and he is compensated well for that. But he lives his life with eyes wide open to see the needs of others and is always willing to help. Always.
And while he had me and my heart at Hershey Bar…he continues to hold my heart with his amazing generosity of love, life, family, laughter, tears, trust, loyalty and yes…even the occasional Hershey Bar. 

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