Last week things were really cold here. Ridiculously cold. Snot freezing cold. Skin cracking cold. The kind of cold where you breathe in the air and your lungs erupt in an involuntary cough because they are so shocked by the -37° with a windchill cold. It was bad. Thankfully we have moved on from that. -4° is really quite pleasant after all.
~Sometimes I Wonder~
Do you feel any guilt if you take the last bite of a treat when other people are around? Better yet how does/did your family distribute and devour treats and coveted food items? I ask this because I have seen two school of thought in this area that are conflicting by nature. One, coming from the Hamel part of my brain says, “I have a treat and I deserve this treat so it is mine and I will keep it for myself. It will be very difficult for me to part with a single morsel of my treat.” We are the family that would each receive an equal amount of chocolate on events such as Christmas or Easter and then continue to hoard them for as long as possible. Jeffrey always won that battle as us girls just couldn’t resist the goodness of the cocoa bean in smooth milk chocolate form. The key point though of this familial experience is what was mine was mine and it was nice to have ownership over something. Sometimes this ownership can be a little too intense. I still hold a grudge over my own father for eating my Purdy’s chocolate covered pretzels that were given to me on my 7th birthday. I still have yet to be repaid for this blunder.
The de Fleuriot part of me, as in many things, is in conflict with this currently mentioned philosophy. The South Africans would say, “I have this treat and I must share this treat since it is the noble thing to do. Part of my wants to eat it, but the general happiness of everyone else is more important to me then my own enjoyment of this particular treat.” Now the de Fleuriots also got their own treats as children of course, but I imagine that they were enjoyed, but not to excess by the individual and then the individual would feel obliged to share the goodness with everyone else.
Here lies the problem of the last bite. No one wants to do it and appear greedy. However, the division of infinite halves of the coveted item becomes so ridiculous that at some point someone just gives in acknowledging that eventually it must be done. As I became more and more integrated into the family I found that I had to modify my behavior considerably when treats were involved. If I were to enter the house with a chocolate bar I would be met with puppy dog eyes that would not dare to verbally require sharing, but implied it quite clearly. Then I would eventually give in and share said chocolate bar. However after sharing with Robbie’s 4 siblings and 2 parents there is often very little left to enjoy. So then I would do one of three things.
1. Buy multiples of everything so I could still have a reasonable portion (obviously I was not as generous as I was perceived to be)
2. Stave off from buying anything at all.
3. The worse of all options, eat the treat in the car before I went inside. I admit I did do this, but only a handful of times. Perhaps I should consider confessing this?
As I write this I see that there are loaded political implications in these two approaches to treat acquiring and devouring. Is the disposition of sharing better then that of the disposition of earning or enjoying something that is rightfully yours even if it is a gift or a circumstantial blessing? The tension of these two approaches has left me in a conundrum many times. I don’t think my own birth family is greedy at all. Maybe we could be slightly more generous. Maybe I need to let go of that pretzel incident. That would probably be a good idea.
Then I think of the de Fleuriot’s. JP visited us back in October and while he was here he made a batch of fudge. It was divine. We went through it pretty quickly, but as Robbie and I worked our way through the last few pieces the rate at which it was being devoured (mostly by Sir Robbie) decreased significantly. Then it slowed down to a near halt. For about 2 months a tiny piece of fudge no bigger then my thumbnail sat in a Rubbermaid container big enough to house a meal for two. Robbie kept insisting that I take the last bit. Honoring the de Fleuriot way I did take part of it, but left a decent sized taste behind. I thought he would take the bait for sure. But no, I was in error. About a month later I asked again about the tiny morsel of fudge. He said he was now saving it for his last day of school. He held true to his conviction and there sat that darn piece of fudge until December 9th. And if you ask the man if he enjoyed it he will certainly say ‘Yes!’
I must say that to this day a treat of any kind can turn the worse of days around for me. I guess whether I get to eat an entire marshmallow bar from Purdy’s or savor a long saved piece of fudge is irrelevant. Sometimes our excess is just that, excessive. But part of me still sees the pure joy in devouring a treat all by myself with no pressure to share at all.
After all there is one particular item that will defy this pattern of sharing in the de Fleuriot family. Real South African Milo.
Even the greatest of Saints have their guilty pleasures I suppose.
“God and chocolate is better than just God.”
-accredited to St. Teresa of Avila