Vanilla Paige

From the moment I recall noticing her after the 8 of us entered the air-conditioned Moroccan Treats in Busch Gardens, her aged eyes twinkled above a dormant smile. She wrestled the hard ice cream with her wetted scooper, as if she’d rather be doing absolutely nothing else.

Paige was probably Rob’s age (68; https://feelwithneil.com/2022/09/16/uber-hippie-rob/) or older. When my turn came, I greeted her with a goofy face, then it did: That smile finally burst into its fullness. “And you, young darlin’? Plain or fancy waffle cone?”

Plain.

“I’m a plain fella:)”

“Oh, I doubt *that* very much {wink}…”

On my plain cone, I requested a scoop of “plain chocolate” and a scoop of “plain vanilla.”

Paige’s smile got even bigger:

“Vanilla bean, or French vanilla?”

Friends with me giggled at the show unfolding.

“Well now, Paige, YOU seem to be the expert in this popsicle stand, so I’ll take your recommendation:)”

She dug into the French without a word. And, my, she *was* the expert artisan, pressing the chocolate ball to a depth just shy of cracking that plain waffle wall. Ok, that’s experienced – but the expertise shone next.

She dipped that scooper into the water an extra long while, looked me in the eye, and winked again – irresistibly, so I peeked over the sneezeguard glass.

Paige withdrew the warmed scooper, flipped it with a stage-master’s flourish, and into the tightly tucked chocolate scoop, Paige seared a dent deeply enough to ensure there was no way that French vanilla ball was gonna roll off its plain chocolate tailored seat.

My personal ballerina has done the next move many times I’m sure – with effortless grace. Some silvery locks escaped from a hairnet, she drops the scooper into the water with a dainty two-finger release, from a height for the perfect, splashless “glubb” – despite the swollen, gnarled knuckles. Paige had to free her scooping hand, because, with my treat in one hand, she needs that second one to grip the top of the seenzeguard while she stands on her tiptoes to hand me my sacrament over the just-too-high glass, assuring me:

“You’re gonna LOVE this, darlin’!”

.

I have zero recollection how it tasted. But zero doubt I loved it. Zero doubt I love Paige, because Paige first loved me. Seems how God tricks us into loving, doesn’t it?

Eating ice cream *is* divine [https://feelwithneil.com/2020/04/29/eating-ice-cream-is-a-divine-experience-soul-and-ego-love-and-like/]…

Like Paige. Like you.

.

Neil D. 2022-09-16

Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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