The saying “Everybody loves a winner” probably couldn’t be more true when we are speaking of ourselves. Sure, winning and being successful is more important to some of us than others, yet I don’t believe anyone just enjoys losing or failing.
With that being said, tonight I learned how failure can turn into a sweet success.
Those of you who are my Facebook friends may remember that a few months or so ago (I checked; it was actually October 28, 2012. Wow, how time flies! o_O) my Dad attempted to make praline candy in the microwave. I got sucked into trying to “help” him, and three times in one night, this was the result:
Whelp, when I came in tonight, Daddy was at it again. This time, he was making candy the old-fashioned way – on top of the stove in a cast iron skillet.
He was just a’ stirrin’ and a’ stirrin’, and of course I got sucked in again and joined him. Daddy couldn’t find the new recipe he was using, and he had put in his ingredients from memory. Even though he and I have seen homemade candy being made a least a jillion times, neither of us could remember what to do next.
We had a good time trying to think of all the steps; laughing and cracking jokes about how my
cheap Aunt Mary took shortcuts and her candy always came out too thin, thinking fondly of the fact that my S-I-L infused her candy with peanut butter (delicious!) and how when I was growing up I loved the bowl and spoon almost more than the candy and would have to beat back my two brothers in order to get it.
I did remember that at some point in the process you’re supposed to drop some of the candy “juice” in cold water; if it formed a ball, then the candy was ready to spread.
What I didn’t remember is that you do that when the pecans are already in the hot candy mix, because you have a very small window of time in which to spread the pralines before the candy starts seizing (learned that term from the show Chopped).
What we would up with was this:
If I say so myself, they are delicious. Even though we didn’t get the “pralines” we were after, Daddy and I had a wonderful time in the kitchen. I spread out the parchment paper and brushed it with butter, and took the skillet from him when I saw it was getting too heavy for him to hold.
We’d done a lot of laughing and talking, and when the time came to spread the candy, we worked wordlessly, but with a rhythm that was instinctive.
The more time I spend with my Dad, the more I’m learning how very much I have his temperament and outlook. We didn’t view our candied-pecans-not-pralines as a failure – no, quite the contrary!
I deliberately left some in the skillet and went to work on scraping the pot and loudly licking the spoon; my Dad smacked his lips as he put the very warm candied pecans in his mouth.
It was a moment of sheer joy.
Daddy turned to me and said, “Well, we would have had the same result if they were whole and we broke them up, right?”
Being the Father’s Daughter that I am, I said gleefully, “You betcha!”
For Daddy and I, the glass is never half empty. He’s the eternal optimist, and I thankfully revel in this trait I received from him. Have I been hurt? Of course. Has life sometimes looked very bleak and dark, without a ray of sunshine in sight? You betcha!
The secret lies in learning how to properly view those events and circumstances that appear to be failures; to salvage whatever remains and use it to carry you to the victories that will eventually come. Understanding, ultimately, that failures serve to sweeten your success.
And you know what? Candy coated pecans taste just as good – if not better – than whole pralines!
Join in the Fray: When has your “failure” turned into sweet success?
Copyright © 2013 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, All rights reserved.