Mr. T sent me the following email a couple of weeks ago when I was out of town. I enjoyed his story and hope you will too!
By Jeff Tidyman
I just got out of the shower. Even though Annie went to the groomer today, I had to wash her. I wiped down the inside of the Nissan. And I had to hose myself off outside before I could even come inside. It's time for bed.
I started at 9:00 or so tonight. I was sitting outside on the front step enjoying the evening. It's pitch black outside, except for the lighting off to the southeast. Annie is next to me watching the occasional car drive by. It's hot and muggy. It'll probably rain tonight. The thermometer says it's still 90 even though it's after 9. But, for the middle of August, it's still a nice night.
I want something sweet an am not sure what. Yes, I am sure. A Cyclone from Macs. The last couple of times I've been there I've gotten a cherry malt for myself while I've gotten Cyclones for everyone else. Tonight I want a Cyclone. I'm not sure what flavor yet.
“Come on, Annie. Let's get some ice cream.” Annie dances around my feet. She's more excited than I am. When I get to the curb I tell her to wait, and she does. I walk across the street to the Nissan, unlock it and look back. Annie is still waiting patiently. “Good girl, Annie.” I open the door and look to make sure there is no traffic. Annie is ready to jump out of her skin, but she waits obediently. “Come on, Annie,” and she bounds across the street and into the Nissan.
It's a beautiful summer evening. My dog is being obedient. And I'm on my way to get ice cream. It can't get any better. I think I felt like you did the evening we were headed to pick mulberries.
Driving with the windows down, the warm evening air blows through the car. But Macs is closed, it turns out. So where do I get ice cream? Ampride doesn't sell ice cream anymore. Does Arby's or Wendy's or any of the fast food joints have a Blizzard? McDonalds? Does TCBY sell Blizzards? They are probably our best bet.
Annie is squealing with her high-pitched whine that she does in the car when she's anxious. I pull into the TCBY parking lot and park away from most of the cars so that Annie isn't barking at everyone in the lot. I don't want Annie crawling out of the window, so I have to roll the windows 3/4 of the way up, even though it's hot. Annie will be fine. I won't be long. It's not like the sun is out, it's pitch black. There is still some breeze in the car. And maybe if Annie is hot she'll relax a little. She'll be fine. To prove it, she sticks her nose out the open gap of the window and barks at me as I walk inside.
I don't see anything like a Blizzard on the menu. That's ok. Tonight we're getting a waffle cone. Ah, yeah. With a scoop of pralines and cream and a scoop of almond mocha. I feel like a kid again.
I step outside into the warm summer air and already the first drops of melted ice cream are running onto my hand. Where can I eat this? It's pretty quiet in the parking lot and I consider just sitting on the steps outside and eating it. I picture letting Annie out of the car and letting her run around the parking lot, but I know instantly that that would be a bad idea. I can't leave her in the hot car. But there is nowhere nearby that I can go to eat my melting ice cream cone.
I decide that my only choice is to get in the car, go home, and eat my ice cream cone sitting on the front step at home. It's not a big deal. I can drive a stick with one hand. But even before I turn onto J St., my ice cream has started to melt in earnest. It's dark in the car, so I can't see exactly what's happening, but I can feel my left hand being covered in the sticky sugary mess. It's dripping on my work clothes and soaking through my pants.
On J St, I'm behind the slowest pickup in the world. If he were going any slower he'd be driving backwards. Annie is being good and staying on her side, but in the streetlight I can see that my scoop of almond mocha is almost completely gone. I hold the ice cream cone up to the air-conditioning vent to help it survive a little longer.
I finally pull up to the house and try to quickly roll up the car windows since it looks like rain. The driver's window is always intermittent, but right now it won't roll up at all. I probably dripped ice cream on the switch on the way home. I'm holding my cone out the door over the street with my left hand while reaching across with my right to roll up the window and eventually get it. “Come on Annie.”
Waffle cones have a high side and low side, and the sugary milk is flowing from the low corner in a steady stream. I try to not hold the cone over Annie, but it's impossible. She's determined to be directly under the cone no matter where I hold it so that she can lap up every drip as soon as it hits the ground.
I sit on the front step and start eating what's left. The funny thing is that after a few bites I realize that this is way more sugar than I need or even want. But nobody likes a quitter, so I finish the whole thing—minus what fell on the ground that Annie ate, which in all honesty may have been a bigger share than I got.
That's when I went around the corner to hose off from head to toe, to wash Annie up, to wipe down the car, to shower, and to get ready for bed. And to write you.
I hope you had a good night sleep. We miss you.