There’s an ice cream parlor on a street corner, just a couple of miles from my home. Late at night when I’m feeling a craving for that old-fashioned scoop of vanilla, the ice cream parlor is my go-to place.
There are other frozen treat shops. You know, the big brand places where you can get an infinite amount of flavor combinations and toppings. They come with all sorts of gimmicks, one of them even holds your ice cream upside down as they hand it to you from the drive-thru window.
And then there’s my favorite ice cream parlor, on a street corner just a couple of miles from home. At this place, the bells and whistles don’t come in flashy signs that have been tested with focus groups. There are no crazy flavors that sound like the latest teenage summer movie titles. The appeal is in the simplicity and in the kind of details you don’t notice until you think about your visit some time later.
What you find at this corner parlor is vanilla. You can also find chocolate and strawberry, you know — those other flavors. But for me, vanilla is the star. Each time I ask for it, I know I’m getting something good and familiar. Something that goes with everything. You can get it in a cup or a cone. You can have it mixed with root beer or made into a shake. Vanilla is whatever you want it to be.
At this corner ice cream parlor, high school teenagers working after school hours always greet you with excitement. They are happy because they know they are serving up something that will make you happy. And each time I order, I see moms and dads holding up their kids to the glass case. Little faces, big eyes, and fingers pointing in all directions. The children look back and forth, trying to decide which flavor is for them.
It all seems so American. A corner ice cream parlor. Vanilla flavored scoops. Parents and children. The simple things. These days, these kinds of things seem even more special.
Outside my favorite ice cream parlor are the bigger, more complicated things. Talking heads on T.V. Deadlines at work. Rules that keep changing on how we should live our lives. All of this sounds like too much sometimes.
And when I get that feeling that life is getting messy, I hop in my car and make my way to that ice cream parlor on the corner, just a couple of miles from home. It’s an easy escape to simplicity.
Life doesn’t get much more basic than when you are holding a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s even better when the guy behind the counter knows what you want and has it ready for you.
You sit by the window in the parlor, savoring your frozen treat, and you don’t have to do much else. The place is filled with giggling kids. Happiness is everywhere. The world outside seems faraway.
It’s just you and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, at your favorite parlor on a street corner, a couple of miles down the road from home.
Life is good.