Four years ago, a woman called me from out of country, wanting to buy Easter chocolate for her daughter who was in first year university here. We chatted briefly, and agreed on a nice representation of seasonal novelties for the basket. I learned this was the daughter’s first time away from home, and that the mother was a touch anxious. The university wasn’t that far out of my way, so I offered to personally deliver it.
Without giving away too much of the surprise, I made arrangements to meet the daughter in the lobby of her student residence. It was a gorgeous spring day and I remember the cherry blossoms being in full bloom as I walked across the campus parking lot. I don’t remember too much else about that meeting save for her being a little wary of a stranger bearing gifts.
The next year, her mother called me again a few days before Easter, and told me how thrilled the daughter was to get the treats the year before, and would I mind personally delivering them again. I said it would be my pleasure and we put together a nice arrangement of rabbits and eggs and assorted other chocolates. I texted the daughter and we made arrangements to meet at a popular bakery café not too far from the university where she’d be cramming for exams.
I arrived at the prescribed time to find about 50 or 60 kids, noses buried in their laptops, coffees and diet cokes strewn about, music blaring, and not a clue as to what she looked like. I held the Easter basket aloft and yelled out her name. She came from across the room, shyly and just a bit embarrassed. I wished her a happy Easter, good luck on her exams, and took my leave.
Last year, her mom called me again. By now we were old friends. She remarked how happy she was that we had this little thing going on, a tradition of sorts, a way for her to be close to her daughter while being very far away. She commented on how important it was to build memories, and asked about my family.
Now the daughter was living in a shared rental house, again not too far out of my way. We made arrangements by text, and I showed up that morning on time, yet it was a full ten minutes before she opened the front door. I venture to say she had been asleep all of an hour. Her mascara was streaked, obviously hung-over, perhaps still drunk, a sea of beer cans and empty pizza boxes and overflowing ashtrays giving testament to the goings-on the night before.
The sun was too bright for her to look at me directly, so with head down and hand shielding her eyes the exchange took place, this time with an embarrassment not borne of being singled out in front of strangers, but doing what college kids do after exams, hoping it doesn’t get back to the parental units.
Well, the tradition continues and this year the mother asked me to include a Mermaid’s Choice chocolate bar with the rest of the Easter treats. She told me that her daughter had worked a forestry internship in Quesnel, BC, last summer, and while riding in the back of a pickup truck with another intern, was offered a bite of what she said was the most amazing thing she’d ever had. She of course recognized the brand from three years worth of Easter treats, but never had she fallen so in love with any chocolate as that particular one after just one small shared piece. The mother squirreled away this little tidbit and was giddy at the thought she’d be able to really surprise her daughter this year.
Sidebar: Mink chocolate is sold exclusively at the two Mink cafes in the Lower Mainland, and online, but periodically carried by Bella Flora Studio, a wonderful florist in Nelson, BC, and by my dear friend Shecky at Bo Peep Boutique in Quesnel.
I’m guessing this unidentified intern walked into my friend’s store and bought that chocolate and then shared it the next day with the daughter in the back of a pickup truck on a logging road in the bush, far from school and even farther from home. I got a kick out of the coincidence and called Shecky immediately. I told her the story beginning to end. We had a good laugh, and hung up. Five minutes later she texted me that her husband Mike, who works for West Fraser Timber, the company that the daughter was interning for, not only knew her, but that she was a great gal and likely coming back this summer.
I emailed the mom later that evening, and told her in spite of our geographic difference, the world was indeed a small place. I’m scheduled to make a fourth Easter delivery to the daughter this week. The exchange will take mere moments, and the small talk will still be small, but this time long enough to drop West Fraser Timber and Mike’s name and let her know the chocolate guy is keeping tabs on her.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
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