Rocky Road Bars

They say it comes in three’s.

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A Tale of Freedom – Part I
Part II

Thursday, 3:50 pm.

“On the day I was born the prince of night hid me in his great black cloak of darkness, and during the storm he carried me away, so that no one saw me leave. I was afraid Mama, but the prince of night is very gentle, and he quickly replaced my fears with restful sleep, ” I breathed roughly, as I read from the pages of The Invisible Princess, by Faith Ringgold.

“Bella, wow that is really descriptive. What do you think it means?”

“Ummmm. Maybe it means that the Prince carried the baby girl away to an Invisible place at night, so that nobody could make her a slave,” she pondered.

“I think you might be right. Where do you think that invisible place is?”

“The Invisible Village???” her face contorts in such way as she ponders the thought once more.

“Could be. Or maybe,” I

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whisper “that place is heaven.”

Bella stares deeply at me, trying to connect unsaid words with imagery, and then suddenly her eyes turn to glass, and droplets pull down her cheeks like rain drops on a window.

“Oh goodness, Bells!!! What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“Because I don’t ever, ever, ever, want to be taken away from you, or you away from me. I want to be with you always!” she chokes as her body begins to slowly tremble.

The tears become waterfalls caressing her face. Her eyes drop, her crying becomes deeper, less consolable, more urgent.

I pull her to me not knowing what to say.

Is this about slavery? Or is this about us? Do I somehow explain to her the strengths of our ancestors, or do I approach her fears about her life now? Seriously. Who ever decided that I should rear a child? What do I know about anything? Stop crying. Stop crying.

“Bella, honey. Please don’t cry. Why are you crying? I don’t understand. Tell me why.” I plead.

Barely audible, she whimpers, “What will I do without you? I need you. I don’t ever want us to be apart, ever.” Her chest rises rapidly up and down, she becomes more frantic, pulling me close, burrowing into my side.

I slide off the couch and onto my knees, making us eye to eye. I grab her chin, gently tug it upwards and command her to look at me.

“You have always been with me. Before there was ever a Nicole, before there was a Bella, our spirits lived with God in heaven, and we were together. Whenever you want me, you can tell your heart to sing out for me, and I will be there. Always.”

Her sobs, become a little more controlled, and her sad eyes look up at me and she whispers, “How?”

“Well, ummm. . .our spirits can travel to places that our bodies can’t. When you look into the mirror, and you see a cute little girl with bright shiny brown eyes, and cute little pony tails, that’s not really who you are. It’s just the vehicle that YOU drive around in. Like a car. The real YOU, is made of love, and it can go anywhere, anytime, to be with anyone you want to be with. And that never changes, or goes away. It’s forever.”

Still crying she nuzzles in closer.

“I don’t really know how it happens. Only God knows that. But I know its true because I can feel it. Like I feel the wind. Sometimes strong against my face, cold against my skin, or a warm breeze in my hair. That is the same way I feel you, your father, and your sisters when you’re not with me. Your love is strong like the wind. I don’t have to see it to know its there.”

Salt trails run down her face.

“I don’t want you to cry Bells. Mommy is here with you now. And, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. But one day, my spirit will go back to heaven, and so will yours, but it won’t change anything. Because we are love. And love is free. Free to go wherever, whenever. Just like the little princess in the story. Love set her free.”

She looked up at me, wiped her tears, content with what I told her. Not completely overjoyed by the prospect of this new information, but resigned to mull it over.

“You promise to be with me forever?” she demands.

“Forever.” I promise.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Rocky Road, eh?

You don’t know the half of it. Or maybe you do.

The incredibly ridiculous part of this story is, once I regrouped, and started breathing regulary again, I ran straight to the kitchen to create something to mirror the images in my head.

Slavery. Bluck.

Death. Double Bluck.

Rocky as all get out. Bluck. Bluck. Bluck.

But as in all things blucky. . . .within there lies strength, beauty, and saving grace.

There is no wonder why Rocky Road’s key ingredient is chocolate. It makes every little thing al’right.

So I’m going to hand my daughters a piece of this lovely confection, and hope that they can feel the love I put into it. That they can feel the roughness, the softness, the salty with the sweet. That they’ll understand, that the rough does not come without the gentle, and the hard does not come without the soft.

And under it all is love. It’s there in all things. If only you look. And it never goes away.

Rocky Road

It should be noted that a much simpler version of this would be to just melt the bittersweet chocolate and dump in the nuts and marshmallows, and call it a day. But. . . .on this particular day, my head was spinning, a little nerved up with my encounter with my 6 year old and I started throwing in the kitchen sink. Make it the more difficult way (below) or cut out the extras and just toss the nuts and marshmallows into the chocolate. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Oh, one more thing. In the recipe below, I added chocolate syrup to the bittersweet chocolate. The result is a texture that resembles a flourless brownie. Utterly divine.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used bittersweet)
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup of your favorite nuts, chopped
1/2 cup of buttery cookies, chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups mini marshmallows
7 mini Snicker Bars and 4 mini Hershey’s bar
1-2 TB milk

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate chips according to package directions, or in a double broiler.
2. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, add the chocolate syrup. Stir to combine. Mix in nuts and crushed cookies. Blend.
3. Add marshmallows.
4. Pour onto a 9×9 baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Press down firmly.

5. Melt mini candy bars in a double broiler. Add 1 TB milk to melted candy bars and stir until the consistency of a thick glaze. Add more milk if necessary.
6. Pour melted candy bar mixture over rocky road mixture in the baking pan.

7. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Cut into bite size pieces, and serve.

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