When I was a kid, one of our regular family activities is the summer was going to the local ice cream shop to get a warm-weather treat. Despite being cold for 9 months out of the year, Upstate New York has no shortage of scoop shops. Little mom-and-pop stand who only stay open from Memorial Day to Labor Day when the weather is perfect for ice cream and milkshakes and all sorts of cool, creamy, delicious treats. On of our favorite stops was the Candor scoop shop (the proper name escapes me now), and it required the family to take a nice ride over the hill and through the woods — literally — to get there. Surprisingly, there are no scoop shops like these down here in the South, which has such a long (year-round) season for ice cream treats, but I digress …
It’s no secret amongst the people who know me best that I like to be right. Actually, “like” isn’t the right word. Must is probably more accurate. I HATE to be wrong, and this is a trait I’ve had since I was little. I’ve gotten better over the years, but part of my identity has always been being smart and being right. And, as a way of humbling me, my mother has never neglected an opportunity to call me out when I’m wrong and reminding me of where I come from. (Love you, Mom!)
These two stories — ice cream shops and my inability to be wrong — converged one fateful summer evening. I must have been in 6th or 7th grade, and, of course, I knew everything, Mom, Dad, Sarah, and I piled in the van and headed over Honeypot Rd. to visit the scoop shop. When we got there, I perused the menu, debating on whether I wanted to deviate from my usual vanilla soft-serve in a cone with rainbow sprinkles. I saw “strawberry parfait” on the menu and was intrigued. I had never had a “parfait” before, so I turned to my mother and asked her about it.
“What’s a para fat?” I asked.
“What?” My mom looked at me, terribly confused.
“A strawberry para fat. Right there.” I pointed to the menu.
She immediately started to smile and laugh. “A parfait?”
My face instantly turned red and I was ready to melt into the floor. When it came my turn to order, I got my usual: vanilla soft-serve with rainbow sprinkles.
And Mom? She never misses an opportunity to remind me of my little mispronunciation. But only when I’m getting a little too big for my britches.
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