family life

Emergency chocolate

 

“A lover tries to stand in well with the pet dog of the house.” Moltiere, 1600s French playwright

“It’s my emergency chocolate,” I explained as my husband watched me wrap up a tiny square of 85 percent cacao and tuck it into an equally tiny pocket of my purse.

“Oh,” he said with a knowing smirk. “In case your dealer gets arrested or something.” I smirked back. His cleverness would have been more effective had he not been drinking coffee at that very moment. Caffeine. Dark chocolate bliss. It’s a toss up as to which is more addictive.

And, it’s not like the guy doesn’t know about food stashes and the care and feeding of, well, me. He’s the one who came up with the idea in the first place. It all started when we were dating. Behavioral ecologist that he is, he immediately noticed that I simply do not do well if I go more than three or four hours without food. Cranky. Lethargic. Not good girlfriend states of being.

So, the guy who feeds chickadees so expertly learned to keep me equally well nourished. From our first date — a Sierra Club potluck for which he prepared a fruit and yogurt bowl — all of our outings involved food. And, if the date went on for any length of time, there was more food. If we went into Chicago for the day, by the time we wrapped things up with a trip to Powell’s Books, a granola bar would suddenly appear from one of his pockets. If we were hiking the dunes, there would be a baggie of cereal or raisins or something.

The technique soon extended to my dog. He began arriving at my home with a bag of cheddar cheese crumbles tucked into the pocket of his jeans. Luki loved him. I mean loved him. It didn’t take long for me to feel the same way.

Many years into marriage, I try to reflect on these moments frequently. They always make me smile. And, they always make me feel a rush of affection that might otherwise not be felt in the mid-life crush of children, work and maintaining a house that’s almost as old as both of us put together.

That guy’s still here. He may be busy, a bit messy and even get cranky with me now and then. But, he’s still here — swapping out the dead battery on my car in the rain, keeping a stash of just about anything anyone in the household could possibly need, brushing our dog’s coat to magnificence every Sunday.

God, help me to always see that man, that husband, as long as we both shall live.

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