Hershey’s Dark Chocolate

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate

From Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate

If my heart can become pure and loving, like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this.

Kitaro Nishida

I guess we all know of the one person in the neighborhood who stays by himself, or herself, and has very little to do with everyone else in the community. You know the type, right? Well, that is not exactly me, although I am not far from it.

I have been married too many times to talk about. In fact it would be embarrassing to say the exact number. All of the marriages were very good, as far as I was concerned, yet ended because I was unable to fully show love or affection. I found it very easy to be nice, kind and responsible. I mean, what else is there other than being good, kind, honest and responsible? That is all I ever knew or was even taught as an orphan in the orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida.

One day this little girl showed up at my door with dirty hands and chocolate all over her face. “Don’t move, and I mean don’t move a muscle,” I yelled at her, as I ran to get a washrag. Darn kids can’t do anything without making trouble for me, I thought, as I returned to wash her hands and face. For the remainder of the day I worked as a prison guard making sure this little troublemaker did not touch any of my personal stuff. All day long all I heard was, “Can I have this?” and “Can I have that?” I thought I would pull out what little bit of hair I had left before the day was over. Thank God, the phone finally rang and they were on their way to pick her up. But, oh no! They had not made it back to town and wanted to know if I would keep her for the night. Reaching for the aspirin, I shook my head and told them, “I guess I have no choice.”

Later that evening I put Chelsey to bed, and as I was about to leave the room she looked at me and said, “Poppa, do you love me?”

“Of course, I love you!” I hollered. “I’m your Poppa!” and then I closed the door.

“I love you, too, Poppa,” I heard through the door. I stood for several seconds with my head leaning against the wall. I immediately opened the door and just stood there looking at her at the end of her bed. She walked over and kissed my hand. I grabbed that three-year-old little baby girl and I hugged her as tightly as I could. I had never known, until that very moment, what the feeling of love felt like, and I never realized that—I hadn’t known.

Now Poppa and his little sweetheart eat Hershey’s dark chocolate in Granny’s favorite recliner, until Granny gets the broom and chases Poppa and Chelsey to the bedroom where they watch cartoons together and get chocolate all over everything. That little baby will never have to ask her Poppa, ever again, if he loves her.

It is true that we must learn to love before we can truly begin to live, even at age fifty-three.

Roger Dean Kiser, Sr. (Poppa)

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE. ©UFS. Reprinted by Permission.

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