Hello and good day!
I was a double major in college. I got a bachelor's degree in business administration and a second degree in Spanish literature.
The professor emeritus of the Spanish department was an elderly woman who escaped Cuba as a refugee when Fidel Castro came to power. She was brilliant and we became good friends over the years.One afternoon, she gave a lecture on the Cuban experience and I still remember the phrase she used.
She said that the Cuban people were yearning for an ideal.
They'd been denied their rights for so long. All they really wanted was to be who they were going to be. They wanted the freedom to pursue their own destiny. Cuba went from being a sugar plantation country dominated by imperial powers. Then it was run by a series of foreign influenced military dictators, Bautista being the last.
Bautista was overthrown by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and the communists. Obviously, communism is a terrible system for self-expression and free cultural development.My professor said that you can hear this yearning when you listen to Cuban music.
No matter the topic, it could be a love song, or a song about patriotism, Cuban singers always seem to be begging and pleading for you to hear them and understand them. There is a tone of desperation in their voices.
As to the instruments, the horns and guitars whine over a Latin beat. The instruments also seem to be supplicating for you to hear them and appreciate what they are trying to make you feel.
It is a music of longing. I still remember that lecture. It was one of my favorites. To get a feel for what I am talking about, check out Buena Vista Social Club online. It is beautiful, deep, soul music.
It seems like really deep, soul music always comes from a place of suffering and wanting. Anyhow, yesterday, I was out in front of our shop promoting and talking to people as I usually do during afternoons.
I was walking away from the shop down a sidewalk that leads towards other stores in the center. Just before walking out of earshot of the store, I heard a young lady saying to her grandmother, "this way grandma, Fortunato Chocolate is over here."
We have a great team in our retail store, and I knew that these two would be well taken care of.But I wanted to see it with my own eyes.
I could hear that the little girl was excited and that she'd been before. It sounded like it was the grandma's first time though. I just wanted to see them having a good time. That is one of the most fun parts of having a chocolate shop. We get to see a lot of happy faces.
I thought about it and was about to walk away. Afterall, the team was in there and I had my work to do. But when I looked back and saw the grandma and the little girl walking in, I just had to go see them with my own eyes.
There is nothing better and I didn't want to miss it. When I walked into the shop, they had already been served their hot chocolate and they were sitting on a little wooden bench in the corner of the shop. The bench is just big enough for two and they were snuggled in there together.
The payoff was as good as I had hoped.They looked so happy.
It was a nice day outside, at least by Washington standards. It wasn't raining and there were some blue splotches breaking through the white cloud cover. We had the door to the shop propped open and fresh air blew in lightly.
Through the window you could see the sky and the air felt nice. They drank their hot chocolates and by chance, one of the most beautiful Cuban songs came on the speaker.
We always play Spanish language music in our shop. Our cacao is a Latino product, and we want people to have the feel of where the cacao comes from. The two sat there on the bench, the air came in, and the sky was lovely behind them through the window.
They enjoyed their hot chocolate with whipped cream and the Cuban singer pleaded for the world to understand him, the rhythm was tapped softly on bongo drums and metal triangles, and the guitars and trumpets whined longingly.
For twenty or thirty seconds, we lived the ideal. Life doesn't get better than how it was right then.
After finishing their hot chocolates, the grandma bought a treat for her granddaughter to take home and they walked out and down the sidewalk that I was just walking along. I watched them walk away. They put their arms around each other's backs as they walked.
The grandma leaned over sideways to touch the side of her head with the top of her granddaughter's head, and she gave the kid a little squeeze. The Cuban singer finished his supplicating and a new song started.
Fresh air wafted in, and I went back outside. Sometimes you get to live the ideal.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!