There are qualities about my friend, Chuck, that give him a very unique personality. First, he does not own, or even drive, a car. Second, he is wildly enthusiastic about most everything. And third, he is one of the most generous people I know. Which all led me down the road to my newest obsession.
Because Chuck is such a good guy, and an incredibly persuasive person, I often find myself on a Friday afternoon transporting him to various errands. He always saves the “best” errand for last. “If you wouldn’t mind, could we just swing by Walmart, so I can pick up a few things?” Ah, the dreaded Walmart. I do not like Walmart. Period. I could go on and on about the jam-packed parking lot, the disgusting dirty floor, and the throngs of people. Or I could go on about how they exploit their workers and drive local businesses away. But I don’t. I just take a deep breath and drive.
The first time I drove Chuck to Walmart, the temperature was way below freezing. He came out with his cans of food and a triumphant smile. “I bought us ice cream sandwiches!” Say what? In Minnesota January winter? He said, “This is the best time of the year to buy ice cream sandwiches. Do you know why? They won’t melt on the way home! Let’s have one right now!” He tore open the box, handed me one, and I slowly unwrapped it, trying to keep my hands on the steering wheel. One bite and I was a goner. Have you had an ice cream sandwich lately? They are just plain delicious! And Chuck was right, I didn’t once have to worry about ice cream running down my fingers onto to the seat. After our first one, Chuck said, “Let’s have another!” And we did! Oh my, I could have kept driving all day, as long as he kept plying me with those tasty treats. You can have your crème brûlée and French Silk pie – just give me an ice cream sandwich, and I am suddenly a very happy person.
The next time I drove Chuck to Walmart, he bought me an entire box. My husband, John, and I laughed at the idea of a box of ice cream sandwiches in our freezer, pretending not to care, but I soon realized that he was as hooked as I was. We would be sitting watching TV, and John would say, “I’m thinking of having an ice cream sandwich.” That was all it took. Try as I might, I could no longer focus on the show. That siren song emanated from the freezer until one of us jumped up and got us our treats.
After a few days, there was only one left. John pulled out a marker, scrawled my name across the paper wrapper and said, “This last one has your name on it.” Dear man.
And I took him at his word. I made it mine; I didn’t even share it. Because the unintended effects of these freezer treats include not only a loss of control, a constant need to get another one at the expense of all other activity, but also an extreme and disturbing lack of generosity.
This past week, Chuck asked me to take him to Walmart. Without skipping a beat, and talking to me as if I were a child, he said, “I’ll get you ice cream sandwiches!”, which of course set my course for the dreaded store.
I promise to share.