What's a Happy Family?
Hello and good day!
One afternoon, my brother, Brian and I were on a cacao farm, squatting down in front of plastic buckets filled with rotten cacao. The very first step in our quality control protocol is to separate rotten, overripe cacao, from pristine, perfectly ripe cacao.
As far as we know, we're the only company in the world who does this on a consistent basis. Most other chocolate has some percentage of rotten cacao in it, not to mention other cacao adjacent material, such as stems, husks, and placentas.
It is easy to spot rotten cacao because it turns brown. After the good has been separated from the bad, we take the rotten cacao back to our facility and throw it on the ground to dry. We don't even ferment it.
Once moisture content gets down to exportable levels, an industrial cacao buyer comes by and pays world market prices for the rotten cacao and it goes into an industrial supply chain.
Anyhow, on the afternoon in question, we heard a little argument brewing behind us.
We were in pretty deep bush. The trees were dense on this farm, and we were surrounded by cacao, coffee, banana and coconut trees, eucalyptus, and some big hard wood trees. The mother of the farm was arguing with her teenage daughter. This was all in Spanish of course.
Mom: Go give them these oranges.
Daughter: Why? Can't you see they're busy?
Mom: They are our guests. Go.
Daughter: Not now. Let's wait until their done.
Mom: I want you to do it now. Take these.
At this point, the mother dumped a big armful of ripe yellowish oranges, the type that grow in the northern Peruvian jungle, into her daughter's arms. The mother was carrying the oranges in a knitted bag that she had draped over her shoulder. Now the daughter was stuck. She either had to obey her mother, or stand there holding oranges, or get aggressive and dump all the oranges on to the floor.
Daughter: Fine. I will go.
Mom: Thank you. Finally.
Now the daughter walked over to where my brother and I were squatted and dumped the entire armload on the ground in front of us.
Daughter: From my mother. Then she sighed, rolled her eyes, and walked away.
Brian and I had heard the entire conversation and it was awkward. We didn't begrudge the young lady the sigh and the eye roll. We finished our work, ate some oranges and packed the rest to take back to our team, and then left the farm.
The farm family is a good and happy family. We've been buying cacao from them for years. The mother and the daughter have a very good and strong relationship and the father is an excellent man.
One day I was eating lunch on a cacao farm with a family who had become good friends of ours. This was when my wife and I were living in campo. My wife and the farm wife got along very well. There was just one child in this family, a little 5-year-old boy who was a firecracker. No matter how hard his parents tried, the boy would not settle down.
Dad: Settle down now son.
Boy: No! I want to run!
Dad: Not now son. We have guests. Come sit.
Boy: I don't want to!
Dad: Come here right now son, or else.
Boy: Or else what poppy?
Dad: You don't want to know. Now come here.
This went on for a while. I could tell that the father would have taken swifter disciplinary action if it weren't for his house guests. He tried to keep his calm and show that he had everything under control. But eventually things went off the rails.
Dad: Come here right now son!
Boy: I don't want to!
Dad: I will take you back to the holy inquisition son if you don't get over here this second!
The boy knew what that meant, and he knew his dad would deliver. The young man came over and sat docilly on his father's lap. This was a while back and I heard recently that the little boy has grown into a fine young man who gets good grades and works hard and is doing well in life.
I was thinking about this the other day. A happy family doesn't mean that it is always sunshine, and teddy bears, and love letters 24/7.
A good, solid, happy family can't help but have some bickering and arguing and yelling and disagreements from time to time.A good marriage can't avoid it, and neither can a good friendship.
I once read a great definition of love.
It is a spiritual dedication to helping a person be the best they can be. Helping somebody be their best is not always a walk in the park. Being your best takes hard work and people don't always want to do hard work.
But if you love somebody, you try to get them there, even though you may end up going through some minefields.
And the purpose of this whole line of thought was to say this. It is good to let arguments and disagreements wash over you. They are part of every relationship and not a deal breaker.
I've argued with the people in my family so many times and about so many things. But in the end, we love each other.
I know it and they know it. We'll always be there for one another.
Chocolate is a good way to bury the hatchet by the way.
Anyhow, do with that thought what you will, and I thank you so much for giving me a moment of your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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