Hello and good day!
Cathy was one of the sweetest women I've ever known.
She was my best friend's mom. Every time I went to her house for a visit, she always greeted me so warmly.
"Oh Adam! You're here! Sit right down. I just baked peanut butter cookies. Are they still your favorite? You've loved them ever since you were little. I still remember."
Then she'd sit me down at her kitchen table and serve me a heaping plate of cookies and a cup of tea.
She'd known me since I was six months old, because she used to babysit me when I was a tiny little guy, and I've remained best friends with her youngest son Nick up through the present.
Even when I went back to visit her as an adult, she was still making those peanut butter cookies.
As time went on, and Cathy's five kids grew up and moved out, Cathy and her husband Mike got themselves a little dog to take care of.
And boy did Cathy hate that dog.
She stuck by her obligation and took care of him his entire life, but they didn't like each other, and neither one of them tried to hide it.
Buddy was the dog's name. He was a cocky little brown wiener dog.
When I went back to visit Cathy as an adult, she'd always be arguing with Buddy.
One night I went over there to say hi because I was in the neighborhood. Mike was on the couch watching Monday Night Football and he asked me if I wanted to hang around for a bit.
I said I would.
But first, Cathy insisted that I sit down and eat a plate of peanut butter cookies. It didn't take much insisting because I was much obliged.
"Oh Adam. It is so good to see you. How is your family? Is that tea hot enough? Tell me everything," said Cathy.
I took a bite of my cookie. It was so perfectly moist and chewy that there weren't any crumbs. I washed it down with a sip of tea.
Cathy was watching me, very satisfied to see me enjoying myself.
Just when I was about to answer, Buddy came sauntering over, with his belligerent little wiener dog posture.
He barked at Cathy and Cathy stood up.
"No Buddy! No! Go away right now!"
Buddy didn't go anywhere. He kept barking.
"Buddy, GET OUT OF HERE NOW!"
I'd never seen Cathy so angry. It seemed like they were in the middle of a long running and unresolved dispute.
Buddy finally backed down. Once things had settled, I started to talk.
"The family is good Cathy. My dad is healthy. My mom is working hard. Life is...."
I was cut off by Buddy. He had come back and started barking again.
"That's it Buddy! You're out of here!"
Cathy slammed her hand on the kitchen table so hard that my plate of cookies and cup of tea jumped.
She picked Buddy up and stormed outside with him under her arm.
Even though the back door was closed, I could hear Cathy's muffled voice, exasperated, giving Buddy a lecture about interrupting her when she had visitors over.
Buddy stayed outside and didn't bother us again, even though we could see him at the back door, staring in.
I watched a full quarter of Monday Night Football. Cathy and I caught up.
Then one day, a couple of weeks later, I received a call from Cathy.
She and Mike were going on a cruise and were looking for somebody to check in on their house while they were gone.
I lived closer than any of her kids and I drove by their place on the way to and from work every day.
"Would you swing by after work to take Buddy out for a walk, so that he can use the bathroom, and fill his food and water bowl while we're gone?"
"Sure thing Cathy. How long will you be gone for?"
"Alright Cathy. I'm on it."
"You are such a good young man Adam. I'll leave a bag of peanut butter cookies for you in the pantry."
They left and I was on duty. Every day it was the same thing. I'd pull up to their big white family house at night. The house was located on the side of a steep hill that plateaued above at the local high school. I'd park in their driveway and the motion detecting light would come on.
Buddy would be there in the window, barking his head off.
When I opened the door, Buddy immediately took off to hide under Cathy and Mike's bed. I'd crawl on my stomach and try to reach under the bed to grab Buddy, but he would step backwards just out of my reach.
I begged him.
"Come on now Buddy. Come on boy. I want to take you out for a walk. It's okay."
After twenty minutes of laying on my stomach, begging a wiener dog, I gave up.
I filled the food and water bowls. I ate a peanut butter cookie. And I went home.
The next day it was the same thing.
Only this time, I saw that Buddy had gone to the bathroom all over the house.
I begged Buddy to come out from under the bed to go for a walk, but he wouldn't come out.
I found cleaning supplies and did my best to clean up, but I wasn't able to completely remove the stains and the odor.
This went on all week.
Buddy barking in the window.
Buddy hiding under the bed.
Me laying on my stomach, on the stained floor of a house that was becoming progressively more foul smelling every day, begging a stubborn wiener dog to please, please, please for the love of God Buddy, please come out so that I can take you for a walk.
When Cathy and Mike came back, they weren't too pleased about what they saw.
Mike called me. "Adam!! What in the hell happened!!"
I still remember this conversation so vividly.
I almost started to cry. I felt so bad about it, and it wasn't my fault and I just wanted them to believe me. I was all choked up when I spoke.
"Mike, I am so sorry. I did my best. Buddy was hiding under the bed. And I was trying to get him out. But he wouldn't come out. Then he went to the bathroom all over the place and I didn't know exactly how to clean it. It got worse all week, and I didn't know what to do. I am so sorry Mike."
I was on the verge of tears the entire time.
I'm a pretty tough guy, but the idea of letting them down made me feel terrible.
There was silence.
Cathy came on the line.
"It's alright Adam. You did your best. I know you tried. We'll handle it."
"Do you forgive me Cathy? You're not mad?"
"No, I'm not mad. I've known you since you were just a baby. I know you are a good guy, and you did your best."
Sweet as always.
I heard Mike ranting in the background, shouting at Buddy, telling Buddy that they were going to get rid of him.
But they didn't.
Cathy took care of Buddy and argued with him every day until he got old and passed away.
She complied with the duty she signed up for, and she forgave me.
Doing your duty and forgiving when you can.
Both good things.
Cathy was like a second mom to me, such a good woman.
I learned a lot from her.
She is still around, even though Mike has since passed.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
Click here for wonderful chocolate made with pure Nacional cacao.
Follow us on Instagram - @fortunatonochocolate
To learn more about our word-of-mouth program, click here.