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Sweetness That Lasts

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Chocolate is sweet,

And so are you!

I remember going to the candy store as a kid with my mom and siblings (there were five of us). The building façade was laced with elaborate white piping like the cakes found inside. A blue-striped awning invited us in: Enter bliss. Glass cases at perfect eye level for an 8-year-old were full of all manner of cakes, cookies and other delectables, and oh—that smell! A smiling lady behind the counter chatted with Mom and seemed ready to serve up whatever we wanted.

If we were lucky, a big man with a white apron and tall white hat would invite us back to the kitchen area to watch him work. He would pour butterscotch like liquid gold from a huge pot onto a large steel table, where he would guide it deftly with what looked to me like magic wands in each hand, forming a large, thin base. Then he'd pour another pot, this time full of liquid chocolate, over the golden mass. And finally, before the chocolate could fully cool, he would fling a dusting of crumbled almonds across the surface, and it would nestle in. Once fully cooled, he’d break the brittle into smaller sheets, and the smiling lady would fill up boxes for us to take home.

The candy didn’t last long but the memories of it did, and we’d beg to go back. I know Mom went there without us at least once a year because every Valentine's Day we would each wake to find our own chocolate heart with our name in edible script, which was ours to save or savor as we wished—usually they were gone before breakfast. I cherished the message of love these chocolate hearts carried with them almost as much as the chocolate itself, and I looked forward to it every year, well into adulthood.

I realize now that the man in the tall white hat was probably the owner of the business, the chef and also an artist, using his tools and trade to create edible works of art. The message and memory have long outlasted the confection, and isn’t that what the best art does? It makes an impression that remains in our hearts and minds and is there whenever we need to retrieve it.

Not all art is meant to evoke a simple joy, but usually that’s what I hope to share through my own artwork. Paintings are personal. What resonates with me may leave you untouched and “vicey versey” (as my mom would say). Different subjects, colors and styles lift each of us, and that’s as wonderful as you preferring fudge when I know butter crunch is best. The important thing is that we share what we love with those we love.

And if you choose to say "I love you" with a gift of my art, I would be delighted! If you know what will resonate with your sweetie then go for it, or, if you would prefer to present a choice, you can give a gift certificate for one of my paintings: either for a fixed dollar amount or for any painting their heart desires. Just an idea. :>)

To "sweeten the deal," I will include a chocolate thank you gift from me to you, and I will also donate 50% of any Valentine’s Day gift purchase to a local nonprofit called For All Ages, which is creating cross-generational love and connections throughout our state.

Life is uncertain,

Chocolate is not!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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