Last week Kathleen spent a large part of two days working at our kitchen table. She had gathered a collection of recipe books of various shapes and sizes and was trying to consolidate favorite recipes into two notebooks as a project in downsizing.
In the midst of this, she brought to my study a little piece of paper she had come across among the recipes. It was weathered from time and slightly tattered. Even its handwriting was faded. On it was the recipe for homemade chocolates she made 63 years earlier, during the first three months of our marriage.
We had to stop and reminisce.
In 1948, we were living in a one-room apartment above a garage across the Queen Elizabeth Highway from Lorne Park College. This was 11 miles west of Toronto, and I was a student and part-time staff there. Having married on a shoestring, as brave souls often did in the post-war years of the last century, this was our first home.
To survive, we had to be resourceful in order to gather together enough money each month to pay our $45 rent and to meet our self-imposed $7-a-week grocery budget.
Once Kathleen produced some home-made chocolates that proved to be a hit with student friends. So we figured that home-made chocolates might be a means of income. She produced batches and we sold them to our contacts for 50 cents a pound. I remember still their coconut, maple, vanilla, and even chocolate nut centers, and all encased in a coat of dark chocolate. It was no run-away commercial venture, but times were hard and every penny counted.
Times are hard for many today but in a different way. For many people, the struggle is not so much for basic survival like it was for us 63 years ago. To us and many others, it now appears to be a nagging anxiety that the affluent lifestyle to which we have become accustomed to may slip away.
When such anxious thoughts press in we find it helpful to remember those homemade chocolates. And to recall that a deep faith in God and the enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures are the keys to contentment and security in this life.
(More next week on homemade chocolates.)