Joseph and the Chocolate Factory

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Gene Wilder Willie Wonka
In memory of Gene Wilder

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

When I was still a young girl, my brother, Joe, embarked on a journey of The Sandlot variety. It was epic. For years we’d heard rumors of a chocolate factory nearby. It was the legend that made children salivate. Chocolate. Factory. Just the words conjured images of confections out of our wildest dreams – like a Santa’s workshop for chocolate. One day Joe and his friends announced, “We’re going to find the chocolate factory.” Ooooh. Our eyes got big. That they would even contemplate the journey was fantasy, let alone attempt it. It was daring and adventurous. The group set out like Littlefoot and friends from The Land Before Time to do, what seemed, the impossible.

We didn’t tell our mothers, my sister and I, nor did the other girls, what the boys were up to. But back then, mothers expected you to be back home when the streetlights came on. So by the time it was full dark, my mother began to worry. Before she could raise the full alarm, though, Joe was back. In his hand, he carried a red square bucket (similar to the chitterling buckets seen in supermarkets). Melted dark liquid lay in its bottom. CHOCOLATE! We whooped and crowed at the success of their venture and dipped our fingers in it, licking it off our fingers. We paid rapt attention as my brother told how this was merely a portion of the original score, as he had eaten quite a bit of it on the way home. For years to come, I would think of his story and wonder just where the chocolate factory lay. I did have an idea of the general vicinity, for whenever I drove to a certain part of town, the scent of chocolate in the air would betray its presence. Instantly, I’d be transported to that childhood memory.

The funny thing is, I’m not a great fan of chocolate. I only eat it in certain applications – like with nuts (especially with caramel) or on cake. Still, even now, that scent can get me riled. So, imagine my pleasure and surprise while I’m driving into work one day and take a different route to avoid traffic. The smell assailed my nostrils – more tantalizing and pungent than Garrett’s caramel and cheese popcorn mix. It was strong and very close. I craned my neck in each direction, eager to learn the location. Just to know, at last. Maybe then, I’d feel like I’d completed the journey, too. (I’m a terrible Chicagoan, I know – I didn’t know where the Sears/Willis Tower was located until I worked next door, LOL) And there it was, right in front of me. A beige, non-descript building with a sign that read, Blommers Chocolate Company. WOW.

I thought it ironic that I could be down the street from this iconic place and not even know it. I was looking at a piece of my history, a page out of my childhood. Proof that Joe’s story was real. It occurred to me then, the implications of what it could mean. I look for God in everything – from the secular to the sacred, the ridiculous and the sublime. I recalled a dream I once had, coincidentally, of chocolate. It was of my favorite cake that my mother used to bake – yellow cake with chocolate icing. The triangular slice was so huge that my hand could hardly contain it. My hand was stretched to the limit and I could barely open my mouth wide enough to take a bite. When I told my friend, who is a believer in dreams, she interpreted it thusly: “It means something good is coming your way. Chocolate is dessert, decadent. It represents the best things in life. You’re about to be blessed!” She was right. I received a promotion and my own office soon after that.

As I think on that dream, chocolate on the wind has come to mean more than the distant memory of Joe’s adventure. It has become an omen for me of good things to come. It means something good is nearby – maybe even around the corner or up the street. It could be right in front of me. When I catch that scent now, it bring a smile to my face every time, because it reminds me that I’m upwind of wonderful blessings that may not be seen but are surely in within my reach. Good things are on their way. The wind fortells it 😉 God has great things in store for me.

Be blessed,

Loria

Originally published on: Dec 3, 2014

2 Responses

    • loriaboyle

      Especially cake … and maybe brownies … and chocolate chip cookies – HEY! Maybe I like chocolate more than I knew 😉

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