i have just had a moment of pure, unadulterated joy, and it happened in the grocery store.
food shopping, i must inform you, is not one of my favorite activities. the aimlessly wandering people, the freakishly cold frozen section, the inability to ever find minced garlic in a sensible location – the list of frustrations goes on and on. but i braved the saturday afternoon fray at my local Giant, and had found just about everything on my list as i angled my cart towards the frozen section. three Tombstone pizzas and some chopped spinach, and i was outta there.
then, in one of those end-of-the-aisle, two-door freezers, i saw it. (or, as BoyCat would mockingly impersonate my only boston-based linguistic tic, “i sawwwr it.”) i was literally stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of this beloved frozen confection.
my new england readers will immediately recognize this as the iconic Friendly’s dessert, the wattamelon roll. my non new england readers will say, “what the hell is Friendly’s? and why can’t you spell?”
to these inquiries i will firstly say that yes, i can in fact spell; however, some ridiculous marketing professional from the 80s apparently could not. that, or he/she just felt the need to abuse the english language every now and again. secondly, Friendly’s is a local chain of the basic, american food at a fairly low quality and fairly low price variety. not fast food, but not much above it either. however, their ice cream is great, and they package both their basic ice cream and special desserts to sell direct from the restaurants, or at local grocery stores. this is how we always had wattamelon roll at my grandmother’s house when i was a kid.
ah, the wattamelon roll – a “rind” of lemon sherbet, with “watermelon” made of watermelon sherbert and chocolate chip “seeds.” i loved this thing. ate it like it was my job. my grandmother probably kept her local Friendly’s afloat for a decade just keeping it in the house for me (oh sure, and for all those pesky other people who ate it too, leaving less for me. shameful.).
but all that faded away, as things do, and i can count on one hand the number of times i’ve had wattamelon roll since i was sixteen. so today, as i stood slack-jawed in front of the frosted double doors of the ice cream section, i could hardly believe my luck. a massachusetts desert, in a virginia grocery store! i hadn’t been able to find watermelon sherbert period in chicago, nevermind wattamelon roll. and there was just one carton, seemingly misplaced among rows of orange sherbert – it might as well have had my name written on it. it could’ve cost 400 dollars, and i would’ve bought it anyway.
the first thing that i did when i got home (well, the second – good to put the milk and cheese in the fridge, right?) was to cut myself a big slice and sit down at the table with it. it tasted just as good as i remembered.
never underestimate the power of ice cream to turn an entire day around.