A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) volume #1 in the romantic, family saga, women’s fiction series by Annie Acorn and Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
A Man for Susan (Captain’s Point Stories) volume #2 in the romantic, family saga, women’s fiction series by Annie Acorn and Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Like many people, I always equate Valentine’s Day with two things – roses and chocolates. Unlike many people, my attachment to these items runs deep.
One of my earliest memories is watching my paternal grandmother prune her roses. Having arrived on this side of the Great Pond through Ellis Island from England, her tastes had run to Queen Elizabeths, and their heady scent remains with me to this day. Grandmother’s thumb was as green as they come, and the stalks on these bushes were covered in blooms. They were also covered in thorns – quite large ones.
I am sure that my grandmother had warned me not to touch them. I am equally sure that I had ignored her, because the strongest part of my memory is of the blood running along my finger from the point where it had been pierced by a thorn. Much ado was made over me by my maiden great-aunt, who immediately responded to my crying.
The thorn was removed with a pair of tweezers. My hand was thoroughly washed and Mercurochrome was applied to the wound, effectively turning my finger tip as red as the blood that had been there before and completely ruining any chances of my parents being able to watch for infection.
This was, of course, almost half a century before the Food and Drug Administration removed its “generally accepted as safe” classification from the then widely used antiseptic. With my beet red fingertip I thought I was quite special, I imagine in much the same way that small children now feel when temporary tattoos are applied at a friend’s birthday party.
My aunt then ministered to my insides by filling them with tea laced with sugar and cream, a stack of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and a dish of stewed prunes. I was in Hog Heaven, and so my lifetime love affair with roses began.
Not long afterward, I became aware as still a very small child of an overwhelming craving inside of me for chocolate.
Our young family shared a duplex with this same paternal grandmother and maiden great-aunt, and so I was intimately aware that my grandmother suffered from hives. With the disgusting curiosity of a small child, I was fascinated by these large red welts, which would appear seemingly out of nowhere at various points along her body. When questioned as to their source, her answer was always the same.
“I ate too much chocolate when I was younger,” she would state, a sad look on her face.
Since she continued to quite openly eat chocolate, I found this incomprehensible. Perhaps because of my previous love affair with my red fingertip, I also found the idea of having my own set of red welts rather interesting.
Exactly how much chocolate did one have to eat to acquire the wonderful hives? I often wondered, and soon I began a lifelong quest to determine the answer.
I began small. Hershey Kisses were my favorites back then. Over the years, though, I expanded my horizons both horizontally and vertically.
My tastes became more expensive, as I tasted Godivas and offerings from a variety of international chocolatiers. I welcomed chocolate spread over caramel and suffused with coffee to create a mocha flavor. I embraced the pairing of mint with my chocolate. I enjoyed it in both its milk and dark personas, and I made room for white chocolate in my repertoire, even though some would say this wasn’t chocolate at all. I layered Gala apple slices with Nutella and consumed them, licking my lips afterwards just in case some of the deliciousness had strayed.
I regularly made homemade chocolate hot fudge sauce, I baked chocolate pies and cakes, and I ate any kind of chocolate cookies with pleasure. I savored heart-shaped Valentine boxes of chocolate and looked forward to the chocolate bunnies of Easter. And then, of course, there were the brandy-filled Santas of Christmas, not to mention the sugarplums. Now, who wouldn’t love those?
And yet, try as I might, I never did develop a case of the hives. Is it possible that all those years ago my paternal grandmother was mistaken? Could the source of her affliction have been something completely different? Have I spent my entire life gorging myself with chocolate for nothing? Or am I destined one day undetermined, at precisely the moment when I least expect it, for a gene-based internal mechanism of some sort to switch itself on, resulting in a small itch here and a pink patch there?
Well, no matter…
At the end of the day, all of that chocolate has smoothed the thorns met along my life’s journey, and I don’t regret a single bite of it!
Now, where did I put that bag of milk chocolate Lindts I just bought at the store? Oh, there they are, resting alongside the rose-filled bouquet on the dining room table. How appropriate!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn