Hello and good day!
I recall one night when I was 16 years old. There were about 30 of us teenagers in a courtyard behind a local church. We liked that courtyard because it was blocked in on all sides by tall hedges. Also, the lights went out after a certain time, call it 9pm, and that allowed us to congregate unseen.
At least, we thought we couldn't be seen.
We'd frequented that courtyard several weekends in a row with no interference from neighbors or the authorities. But this night was different.
There is no delicate way to say this, so I'll just say it. I was plastered. And I had a backpack full of beer.
All of the sudden, we saw flashing red and blue lights and heard the sound of sirens wailing. We made a run for it. A bunch of teenagers scattering in the dark. I tossed my backpack in a bush so that I wouldn't be busted as a minor in possession of alcohol.
I got away.
Then about an hour later, when I figured the coast was clear, I went back to the church to recover my backpack filled with beer. Can you imagine what a bonehead I was? While I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the dark, trying to find which bush my backpack was in, a light shined in my eyes.
I looked up towards the light but was blinded. Then I heard a deep, masculine voice. "Come on out of there," he said. It was a big burly police officer.
I came out and stood on the side of the road. The officer kept shining the light in my eyes. After questioning me, the whole thing became clear.
Trespassing, yes. Public intoxication, yes. Minor in possession, yes. Resisting arrest for successfully fleeing the scene of the crime, yes.
I was busted.
My dad had to come pick me up from the police station where they had me waiting in a drunk tank. Sixteen years old. Thats who I was. And that wasn't the end of it.
It went on like that for another 4 years, culminating with my expulsion from college at age 20. This is why I have such a soft spot in my heart for people going through hard times.
I know that people can change. There is always a chance to get yourself onto some new and better path.
Consider the following.
We first became interested in cacao back in 2008. We decided to start a cacao buying and chocolate business in 2009. Later in 2009 the USDA told us that we'd accidentally rediscovered a thought to be extinct variety of cacao. We made our first chocolate sale at the end of 2010.
No sales during our entire first 2 years in business.
We were on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain in 2013.
In 2020 we almost went out of business because of COVID restrictions.
We started selling chocolate online as a desperate last-ditch attempt to save our business We'd always been wholesalers to high end restaurants and chocolatiers prior to that.
In November 2021 we opened our first retail shop with no idea what we were doing. And less than a year ago, we opened our second retail shop.
I've been writing these daily emails for going on 3 years now. I haven't always written every day, but for the last 322 days in a row, I've been consistent.
Some of the messages are better than others. I think there have been flashes of very decent writing. I just submitted a final book manuscript to my publisher for publication next year.
But check out the very first email I ever sent out. I sent it on 5/19/2020. It went out to 11 people. Not to brag, but we have 50,000 people subscribed to the newsletter now.
"Hello and good day!
I thought you might be interested in knowing a little bit more about the cacao beans used in our Fortunato No. 4 chocolate.
Here is what the USDA had to say about it. "In the world database with over 5,600 entries, 40% white and 60% dark cacao beans in the same pod of the rare variety ''Nacional' is an unprecedented discovery."
From our family to you, I sincerely hope that you enjoy the chocolate.
I had no idea what I was supposed to say, and I was deathly afraid of what the 11 people who got it would think.
Now I am telling folks about the time I got arrested as a teenager.
Things change. You chip away at it. Here is what I sent out on 5/20.
"These are the drying beds where the cacao in our Fortunato No. 4 chocolate get dried. Ever see a cacao drying bed before?
Here is what got me thinking about this topic. Last week I saw a young man standing in the middle of the street talking to a police officer.
I recognized the kid. I know his family. They are a good family. The parents are good, good people. But this young man has gone down a bad path for the time being. However, just because that is his current condition doesn't mean it must define him forever.
We're all a block of marble waiting to be chipped away at.
If you judge a sculpture too early, of course it won't look good. An incomplete sculpture will always have a grotesqueness to it. What would happen if sculptors abandoned every project halfway through because things didn't look right?
We shouldn't walk away too early. Keep chipping. Keep molding.Keep shaping. The final product can most likely end up being something of extreme beauty that you can be proud of.
This applies to oneself.
Keep chipping until the work of art is complete.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!