Egad, I hate Friendly’s. You know, the ice cream place? Yeah that. Hate it.
No, not for any particular reason…well, more like lots of reasons. All through my life, it was always…there…and never in a good way.
It started when I was little. Back then, there were a lot of good ice cream places around, from soft-serve custard at Don & Bob’s down at the lake (mmm…fishy smell from the lake, greasy smell from the grill—what amibence) to Carvel (mmm Fudgie the Whale) to Skippy the ice cream truck with the bell going ding-ding-ding—or, if the college kid slaving away behind the wheel of the non-air-conditioned, worn-out pickup truck with a giant silver refrigerator unit weighing down the back bed felt chipper, ding-a-ding-a-ding-ding-ding.
Friendly’s, however, had ice cream sundaes with gobs of hot fudge. Black raspberry ice cream—purrrrrrple!—and black cherry, with giant cherry halves jutting out of the pink stuff. And it was just up the road from me. But it might as well have been as far away as Iceland for the frequency of our visits—or lack thereof. My family just didn’t do dessert. Ever. (Yes, I was a sorely neglected child, but my parents thought they were doing me a favor. Or something.)
So one of my strongest memories of my childhood—I’d estimate it at my sixth year, I think—was when the parents of my bestest friend across the street, Jennifer, asked my parents if I could go with them to Friendly’s for an ice cream cone. I was over the moon. Ice cream! And the invitation was bordering on exotic, because it was so late on a summer evening—the sun was actually starting to go down! I should’ve already been in bed! (more…)