The Process of Friendship

My friend Jesse says that “ice cream is the only dessert; all other sweets are merely substitutes.”  I happen to be in total agreement.

Last week our wives decided to go away for the evening, celebrating a birthday or something, so Jesse and I decided to drown our loneliness in ice cream.  Not just any ice cream, mind you!  We remembered from our youth of an old fashioned ice cream parlor that had an ice cream feast: enough for two but often consumed by one.

So we set the GPS and headed for our destination 90 miles away.  “What are we going to do if we get there and the ice cream parlor is no longer in business?”  “It’s the process, not the destination that matters,” we determined.

We each had one of the “Belly Busters,” he had the old time cutie and I had the trough fit for a pig.  Each had six scoops of ice cream along with various other frills.  When we finished the waitress stopped by, dropped her jaw and said, “You ate it all!”  “Yes,” we replied, reflecting the tone of “DUH!”  “I’ll be right back,” she said.

The next thing we knew the siren was sounding and out came our waitress banging on a big drum and announcing that she wanted everyone’s attention.  Calling on us to stand, she then proceeded to detail for the whole restaurant each of the ingredients we had consumed.  She then had us push up our snouts and repeat a piggish confession of gluttony.  She awarded us with ribbons that said something like, “I made a pig of myself at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.”  Sometimes the line between humiliation and pride is thin.

(Note: The part that bothers me is not the fact that I ate all of it.  No, it was the fact that I didn’t have to force down one bite; it all went down so smoothly!)

Now Jesse and I have been friends since 1981 and in the past few years haven’t spent much time together.  It was time we did.  We talked about families, jobs, retirement, cars, sports, commuting, technology, beliefs, friendship and who we are becoming.  Our conversation covered much more territory than the 180 miles we drove that day.  That evening as we parted, we gripped each other’s hand and said, “We’ll have to do this again … soon.”

You see, it really was about the process; the ice cream was just topping on the cake.

… Tom

3 thoughts on “The Process of Friendship”

  1. I recently had an expierence similar to this. My good friend Solomon and I haven’t had a chance to hang out in a very long time. he used to live across the street from me and we’d see each other quite often and were good friends but work and school has drifted us apart. I recieved a call from him explaining some good personal news and so after running a couple errands i went and visited him. It was like we had just seen each other yesterday. I gave him a giant hug…. a “manly” hug… and we sat down and watched some comedy on tv and watched some comedians on the internet and laughed so hard we both were crying. just like old times.

  2. It is funny because your son and I have had many instances similar to your story. Sometimes after we do things together I feel like what we did wasn’t really the fun part, it was the journey getting there. And we have eaten our fair share of food together that probably neither of us should have eaten (but if Josh ask’s, you didn’t hear that from me).

  3. Tom,

    I was saddened to hear the news this morning as I arrived here at work. I know what you’re going through. Be strong, but it’s also ok to be weak.

    When time has passed you’ll realize the things you have to be thankfull for –
    the close relationship you had your dad and being there with him at the end.

    “Now the darkness only stays the night-time,

    In the morning it will fade away,

    Daylight is good at arriving at the right time,

    Its not always going to be this
    gray.” George Harrison.

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