Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Free Cone Day

You know what makes me mad? Free Cone Day is always on a Tuesday. It's like some kind of conspiracy against Religious School Teachers.

Probably not.

But since I started working at Columbia during the day, I can never go, because I don't have time between working in New York and teaching in New Jersey, and I don't have the heart to ask Hopper to stay home with Boo after she's in bed so I can get free ice cream without him.

Although today that would have been slightly more legit since he's on break this week and totally had an opportunity to get free ice cream any time between store opening and whenever he started making dinner. And he forgot to go.

So no free ice cream for me except for the ancient ice cream bar I found in the Temple freezer that was left over from a party two months ago and clearly melted and refroze at least once.

I enjoyed it.

Here's my best Free Cone Day story.

It was about 1999 and some friends from work and I decided to head down to the Times Square Ben & Jerry's to pick up our free cones. The line was long, as you would expect on Free Cone Day in Midtown at lunch time, but it was really well organized--workers were handing out flavor lists all along the line so everyone could decide what they wanted before getting into the store. The line moved quickly, but it was long enough that you didn't really want to stand on it twice.

When I got into the store, I saw my cousin, whom I hadn't seen in years. I had heard he was working there and that he was living near my brother in Brooklyn, but it was still really cool to see him. His family and mine hadn't been close in a long time, but when I was a kid he used to come by sometimes and he was always fun to be around. And I knew that he always made a point of being in touch with my Nana, and that meant a lot to me.

He saw me and I introduced myself and then he recognized me. He was crazy busy managing the store, but he grabbed me and asked me what I wanted and while he scooped my cone he asked me how life was going. I gave him the quick update, and then he told me that he and his wife were waiting for a baby girl from China. Seriously awesome news, especially since I was planning on moving in with my brother soon, which meant we'd be neighbors and I'd have a baby to play with!

It was a conversation that would change my life, and I didn't even know it. They did adopt the baby from China, and she's an awesome teenager now who I'm proud to be related to. But a few years later I got married, and when Hopper and I decided to adopt, we went to my cousin for advice. Because of his advice to attend an adoption conference, we discovered our agency.

I can't draw a straight line from an ice cream cone to Boo, but there's a distinctive knotty string that gets from point A to point B.

I owe it all to Ben and Jerry. Thanks, guys!

PS: Free Cone Day is my favorite Humanist holiday. What could possibly bring people together in a spirit of friendship better than free ice cream?

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