Incentive Part Two

If you didn’t read this last Monday – I’m giving you the chance to read my post on Incentive again below! I have upped the ante, and for every story/memory/poem I receive from YOU over the next week, I will donate $10 to The Pablove Foundation, fighting childhood cancer with love and art. 

Please grab this gift of incentive!

Put aside your doubts as to whether you are ‘good enough’ to share your words and write!

Don’t pass up the opportunity for your words to resonate far beyond this screen.

You donate words. I donate money.  Easy, right?!  Write!

I will return to gentle coaxing next week, but for the next seven days I am flexing my hard sell muscles!

$95 raised so far – please, please help me raise the bar!

And to the 18 readers who have donated words already – thank you! I am so grateful that you have joined me on this endeavour xo

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Incentive.

Let the word sit on your tongue. It’s a subtle word. It sizzles in the middle.

Incentive.

It beckons you forward. Encourages you to engage. Dangles a reward.

Or does it?

Writing is a tough one. Are you enamoured by the process? Do you feel compelled to let words tumble out of your brain and onto the page? Are you bold enough to let those words fly, or play with them, shifting their positions as if they were an enthralling jigsaw? Unless all of these conditions are in place, what incentive is there to write?

Money, fame, fans, accolades?  No guarantees, and if you are writing with these aspirations – may the force be with you.

You’ll need it.

I am incentivized by the potential of impact. I want my words to resonate. When I release these blog posts every week, the words have already resonated within me… and that IS satisfying. But if they then resonate with even ONE person beyond me – that is enormously satisfying.

I have heard from many readers, “I love to read your posts but I haven’t written… or I can’t write… or it’s not my thing… or I’m not very good or, or, or, or, or….

I’m bored with OR! I want to tempt words from you. I want to ignite action. I want you to feel the surge in your soul that can come with digging deeper. Unearthing creativity. Inventing worlds. Exploring expression. I want to incentivize you to WRITE – without fear or judgement.

So here goes…

When I first moved to LA two years ago I was introduced to a lovely woman called Jo Ann Thrailkill. Jo Ann is the founder of The Pablove Foundation– a non profit that raises funds for paediatric cancer research and offers a remarkable photography program, Pablove Shutterbugs, for children lving with cancer. Pablove grew with passion, dedication and care from the dark roots of grief. Jo Ann and her husband, Jeff, lost their son, Pablo, to a rare form of childhood cancer when he was only 6 years old.

Pause here. Let those words resonate.

In the short time since his death, despite the massive unrepairable rupture in their worlds, Jo Ann and Jeff miraculously didn’t lose their incentive. They found a way to keep going. They began to create something that would not only honour the precious life of their brave and beautiful son, but that would also positively impact other children suffering from cancer.

Pablove was born.

If I close my eyes I can picture Jo Ann and Jeff carving a heart into the trunk of a tree. I imagine the birth of Pablove as a pact between them. A statement.  A message. We are still here. Pablo’s older brother, Grady, was fifteen when Pablo died. We are still here. We will continue to make meaning…

Pablove inspires me. Jo Ann and Jeff inspire me. The children in the Shutterbugs photography program inspire me. I never met Pablo, but he inspires me. Hugely.

As part of my aim to inspire YOU and incentivize you to write, I am pledging my continued support to Pablove.

Below is a gorgeously graphic image taken by Diego, 13 years old, who participated in a 2011 Shutterbugs photography program.

I am going to leave this post up for 2 weeks and within that time, for every fictional story, original poem, or memory you share on the site in response to Diego’s photograph , I will donate $5 (now $10!) to Pablove. And if you want to match that donation – please do so here: pablove.org. Let me know if you donate, but remember, your words alone will ensure a contribution.

Do it now!  It doesn’t have to be literal – use the image as a springboard and jump. Remember my ethos – forget about getting it ‘right’ and get it ‘write’ instead!  Share part of you. Share this post with friends and family.  Share the Pablove!  Click on the ‘comments’ button to get started, and if you are reading this via email…  please visit the site directly to respond.

Join Jo Ann and Jeff. Carve your initials and your heart into that tree trunk. Let your words truly make a difference.

I’m here to make certain they will…

From Pablove
The Pablove Foundation is named after Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz, the son of Jo Ann Thrailkill and Jeff Castelaz and
the little brother of Grady Gallagher. Pablo was six years old when he lost his valiant yearlong battle with bilateral
Wilms Tumor, a rare form of childhood cancer. The mission of The Pablove Foundation is to fund pediatric cancer
research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for
children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs. Pablove Shutterbugs is the foundation’s program to teach
children living with cancer to express their creative voice through the art of photography.For more information on The Pablove

Foundation, please visit pablove.org and follow Pablove on Facebook at facebook.com/pablovefoundation and Twitter at @pablove.

Please also take the time to click below and read a true example of Writing To Be You – a soulful letter written by Pablo’s father, Jeff, on Pablo’s birthday.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WORLD FROM A FATHER WITH A FRACTURED HEART

What’s stopping you? You donate words… I donate money… it’s sweet, simple and soulful. Scoop a few minutes from your day and write!!  You have until Monday 9th July!

31 Responses to “Incentive Part Two”

  1. Melissa
    July 2, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Thanks for this opportunity Rory – what lovely idea and inviting approach. Here goes:

    This makes me think of melting. Of how ice cream is really good, but you can’t wait too long to enjoy it before it becomes a sticky mess. But if it’s too cold, and you eat it too quickly, it gives you brain-freeze. Eating an ice cream cone just right is a study in zen presence.

    You have constantly monitor the drips from all the sides, continually turning the cone to catch the latest drops rolling down the sides. If you take too long, the cone itself becomes soggy, the container of this sweet moment cannot hold.

    And the funny thing, for all the presence of mind it takes to eat an ice cream cone successfully (without drips on the front of your shirt, or worse, scoops on the sidewalk), the memory of a really good cone lasts for years.

    I remember getting chocolate mint ice cream cones with my dad on the way home from the library as a young girl. One hand holding a stack of books, the other my dad’s hand, we’d walk to Baskin-Robins. At the store, I’d hand him the books and we’d walk home, one hand holding the ice-cream, the other holding my dad’s hand.

    I remember sharing a cone with my high school sweetheart – before he became my high school sweetheart and was just an outrageous flirt who teased all the girls. He had a trick of biting off the end of the waffle cone and then handing the cone back to you. Then, with your next unsuspecting lick, he would lean forward and blow up the bottom of the cone, trying to eject ice cream from the top. Usually, the cone just crumbled.

    I remember camping with my kids last summer, when we decided to have chocolate ice-cream cones for breakfast from the café instead of bothering with the camping stove and pots and pans. We strolled along the high street of Wells-Next-the-Sea with our cones, enjoying a cloudy day with sunny spells.

    I remember getting orange sherbet cones with chocolate jimmies from a place on Broadway with my friend Antara. We took our cones to Riverside park, hung out and talked about the Big Questions while watching joggers and dog walkers and nannies with strollers pass us by.

    There are very few places that don’t have an ice cream memory for me.

    Maybe because eating an ice-cream cone makes you slow down and notice where you are and what you’re doing. Maybe learning to enjoy ice-cream cones is a way of learning how to live one’s life. It is impermanent. It is tasted in the moment. It is wonderful.

    • leslie Rubinoff
      July 4, 2012 at 6:52 am #

      dairy queen at the cottage. Summer. Lake.

  2. Ina Hollins
    July 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    ‘Grand’ was my mother’s father. I began calling him that instead of Granddad when I was quite small (maybe 8 or 9), but old enough to want to tease him a bit. Make him smile. Shake things up. Because in my limited experience, he was the saddest person in the world. There were glimpses of spirit now and then, like when he’d whistle “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” in the most lovely and crystalline tones as my sister and I held the wrapping paper down for him to tape. Or when he’d make us compulsively tidy white-bread sandwiches with olive loaf, yellow mustard and American cheese — we loved them, and I think that satisfied a need in him for order. The children are happily eating, so all is well. Or when he played Uno with his brother and sister-in-law: definitely no smiling but he was engaged, nonetheless. We’d watch, and pray he got the Draw Four so he could calmly and silently take out his opponents while they groaned loudly to our great delight.

    Once every couple of weeks during the summer, Grand took us for ice cream at Smiley’s. My sister and I would get our dripping bubble-gum cones or some other equally unimaginable flavor, and we’d struggle to control the things, working round and round, bits of paper napkin coming off into our mouths, not that we cared. Grand ordered the same thing every time — a coffee frappe. A simple pleasure.

    He didn’t do much for himself, other than play golf sometimes or go hunting on Thanksgiving Day. After retirement, mornings were spent at church, cleaning his house, or mowing his giant lawn; evenings were spent at church or sitting in front of his TV, tssk-ing disgustedly at the myriad failures of the Celtics or the Red Sox. My sister and I used to wonder why he was so quiet and different from other adults. We knew on some level that he was unhappy, but it wasn’t until later that we put two and two together. Our grandmother was living happily across town with her vibrant husband Bob, whom we all adored. As we got older, our parents trusted us with more of the story: she’d fallen in love with Bob after being married to this naturally silent man for 25 years and raising five children. She’d caused a great scandal when she left and quickly married Bob. Grand’s religious beliefs dictated that he never remarry. He was a shell of a man, hollowed out by grief and loneliness.

    As Grand got older, he began to experience ‘mini-strokes,’ and he became more and more forgetful and confused. But in the beginning of this process, he was fully aware of what was happening to him, and it made him want to talk to someone. He chose me. At first we’d play cribbage (where I’d eventually have to count for us both, until one day he couldn’t play at all), then after his license was revoked I’d drive us around while he struggled to arrange his thoughts into something communicable. In that year, he was able to tell me more about himself than any of the family ever knew. He spoke of Papua New Guinea and the war, and how many times God saved his life. He described his early childhood as the eldest of ten who cooked and cleaned while his taciturn parents worked at a mill in a grey town in central Maine. He blinked at me with bewildered, pain-filled eyes and wondered aloud what he’d done to make her leave him.

    How I wish Grand’s life had been different. That he’d been happier, that he’d been able to move on from that one-sided relationship and find a compatible wholeness with someone else. Someone who didn’t mind his silences or his simple tastes. But his life molded him into that gentle, sad man we so loved, and I can’t honestly imagine him any other way. I suppose the lesson is . . . well, I guess I’m still working that out.

    • Karen H.
      July 3, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      Ina, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing Grand with us. I’m so glad he chose you when he was ready to talk. xo Karen

  3. Karen H.
    July 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    The summer I was eighteen, I went to Florence with my best friend. I remember we saw historic art, impressive cathedrals and came upon a cinema showing “Room WIth a View” where we escaped the heat. We wrote and sketched in our journals by fountains, shopped for hours and danced with Italians at an outdoor club under streams of twinkling lights. But what I remember the most, as if I can still taste it in my mouth, is the spoonfuls of chocolate and mango gelato that I ate four times a day. Maybe five.

  4. Brenda
    July 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    the ants in my kitchen

    appear every spring
    searching for my food,
    innocent enough,
    how they get in
    i do not know.
    i avoid eye contact
    for a while,
    try to ignore,
    try to be a good Buddhist.
    but then I become
    a warrior,
    defending my territory,
    or my esthetic sense
    of pleasing or not.
    in a weak moment
    i smash them or
    use the big guns….
    Raid.
    and then the remorse….
    make peace with the ants.
    but this morning
    a large black and bold spider
    was patrolling the kitchen counter.
    one who loves to eat ants.
    out of my hands,
    for now.

  5. Em
    July 4, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Work, life, love makes it hard to remember to find time to stop and enojy the simple things…like a soft whip ice cream on a sunny day in the hands of a child. Words don’t come easy to everyone and sometimes actions speak louder… but for an inspiring family it is worth making the effort to do both. Big Hugs.

  6. bjf
    July 4, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    For A Limited Time Only

    This is a call to action
    This perfect swirl
    Poised as it is in its truest form
    Warming with each moment
    Beginning its delicious decline
    Becoming messy
    Ungovernable
    Carnal
    Dying in its way
    Crying out to be enjoyed now
    Before sunlight and gravity reduce it to nothing
    Before it’s too late
    Lick the cream off of your forearm
    Taste the sweat underneath
    Everything is perishable

  7. Steve Tipp
    July 4, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Even since modifying my diet and cutting out meat and most dairy; I can’t cut out ice cream. It is just too good. Spinning, white, cool and creamy and coated with a waxy chocolate or even more decadent. I can’t pass it up.

    The Pablove story is so honest and sad and true to our times. It is an honor to have had the story of Jeff, Joanne, Grady and their beautiful muse Pablo, shared with us all.

  8. Leslie Thurman
    July 4, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I am touched by Jo Ann, Jeff, Cath and the entire Pablove team as our mutual friend, Leslie Rubinoff, introduced us a few years ago.

    I have recently had this issue of childhood cancer re-surface in my life after many years of not really focusing on it. I lived in NYC and after a break-up, decided to volunteer and ended up in a pediatric oncology ward working with children who were dealing with brain and spinal cord tumors. It was challenging volunteer work – very emotional and often I felt quite grief-stricken, especially knowing than many of the patients would not survive depending on their tumors and the location/severity. Yet, it got me out of my own head and way in so many instances, and I was tremendously grateful for the experience.

    Cancer re-surfaced in my family life a few years ago, with my Uncle Frank grappling with kidney and bladder cancer, and has been undergoing treatment for many years, including the removal of his kidney, and recently his bladder, prostate and more. He’s recovering right now at Mayo in Arizona, and while he’s hopefully going to have less pain, his life will be tremendously affected and challenging given the loss of the bladder.

    Finally, after a trip to Haiti in September 2010, I had taken hundreds of photos of children and families we met through a fantastic microfinance organization, Fonkoze. When I returned home to L.A., I noticed in some photos a boy in a red polo shirt in a very rural village we hiked to – in one photo, you could see his cheeks were very swollen and one eye was focused upward — so something was impacting his face and eyes. In another photo, he had pulled his shirt up over his head to hide his face – and that broke my heart. I sent the photos to Fonkoze staff in Haiti, they found Ricot and his mother in a remote area, signed up his mother in their microfinance and literacy program, and got Ricot back in school and took him to a local clinic.

    Fast forward to May 2012 and I asked for updates on Ricot and his health status. The Fonkoze staff actually were visiting that area and met with Ricot and his mother, and his growth in the face had grown a lot, and he was having trouble drinking. He’s 13 now, and while he’s grown a lot, so has this tumor. I saw the recent photos and was devastated, and immediately set out to find physicians through Operation Smile and other NGOs working in Haiti to help with a proper diagnosis and scan for Ricot, and then surgery. Within a couple days, I found a great physician who is head of the Baptist Hospital of South Florida, who happened to be in the Central Plateau of Haiti where Ricot lives, and Fonkoze helped arrange the meeting with the team from Baptist and Ricot. His case is quite serious, but they are moving forward with a CT scan and hopefully surgery quite soon. I’m keeping Ricot and all children who are facing cancer and treatment in my thoughts and prayers.

    Thanks to Rory for the inspiration and incentive to share my own experiences and the story of Ricot!

    Warmest,
    Leslie

  9. Jen
    July 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    First time I dated an English man he asked me if I wanted a whip. I stared at him incredulously and gulped down my embarrassment. We were at the park, daylight hours and surrounded by loads of bright red English people soaking in the sunshine. I said, ‘no…thank you ‘. He told me how much he loved whips and that it reminded him of his childhood. I decided, quietly, that this would be out last date.

    When we finally left the park I noticed the long line at the ice cream truck. On the side of the truck there was a sign with a picture of a soft ice cream in a cone. It read ‘Mr. Whippie’

  10. Michael Hawley
    July 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    The spindle leaves from the locust trees spiral down. It’s thick air. Air you have to drink or swim through. And me, with my peeling shoulders, I am nine, maybe ten with a stubbed toe and a t-shirt stained with Canada Dry Grape. I sit alone on Splinter Bench by The Freeze, eating my gold, swirled ice cream, vanilla dipped in butterscotch that hardens. It clicks as I break through. This afternoon at the beach I watched that girl, the blond girl with the one braid and the sideways tooth. She showed me an old, precious ring her grandmother had given her. Then she was standing thigh-deep in the water, holding the ring just above the surface, daring the waves to knock it from her fingers.

  11. Kay
    July 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    I’ve never really liked ice-cream. (Or chips). I have never ‘got’ why it was so craved for by children. I don’t know why – too sweet, or too rich or too cold. So when my 3 week old daughter was diagnosed with a rare intolerance to pretty much everything except avocado and peas, I had to cut everything out of my diet in order to continue breast-feeding her. My diet was very minimal. I felt healthy but deprived…. and the thing I craved for most…… icy cold vanilla ice-cream!

    I returned to my normal diet after weaning her but her diet remained limited. It was hard for her when biscuits and puddings were being passed round and she had to have a pear. She didn’t understand why I was punishing her. Until, close to her second birthday, she was retested at UCH. Joy of joys and unbelievably – she had grown out of her intolerances to everything! Evidently her digestive system matured and now nothing was out of bounds. Nothing!!

    When we stepped out of the hospital I rejoiced with her and asked her if she’d like a hot chocolate to celebrate (it was a chilly february day). “Eye Keam” she demanded. So that is what we had. Together. Huge mounds of yellow vanilla icecream (she now calls it ‘familla’), dripping with chocolate sauce, ‘sprinkles’ and wafers. Much of it landed on the table, smudged over her face, plopped on the floor, but enough went slithering past her grinning mouth into her grateful (and slightly surprised!) tummy.

    That shared moment – both of us eating the ‘forbidden fruit’ together, was that beautiful moment my daughter was released from her pea and pear penitentiary, and became a child who not only craves icecream, but eats it. I am forever grateful that she is with me and that she is healthy, and I think every day, about those who are not.

  12. Kris
    July 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    This reminds me of roller skating to Foster’s Old Fashioned Freeze for soft serve ice cream cones as a beat the heat (and smog) treat growing up in Burbank in the ’70s. I would always get mine dipped in chocolate though. Remember the days of just eating – never asking what the ingredients or calories were? Never stopping to think if something was natural or artificial, let alone organic or gluten free, not to mention how many food miles it had traveled or whether the packaging was biodegradable or recycle ready? To sum it up I’d say this cone reminds me of the blissful ignorance of my childhood that I will never get back. The white also reminds me of the majestic, snow-covered mountains of Mammoth – of being on top of the world and skiing down every swirl. And the backdrop is the best! Vibrant blue skies, deep blue ocean and blue eyes. Thanks Rory!

  13. Frankie
    July 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Dear R,

    I swallowed a gum last week.
    Maybe this is the last times write to you, cause I am not sure if the gum would kill me.
    I spend long hours behind my window these days,
    Try figuring out the way to recue my delirious heart,
    I could only see the word on the tip of my tongue.
    I am hunting down them down now, while the stars are still out.

    – b.wing

    An illustrator and author from hong kong that I like

  14. Joel
    July 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Don’t quite the mind. Open Stillness.

  15. Libby Kauper
    July 5, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    I lived in Ohio when I first remember the thrill of a summer treat – a homemade cone prepared with black cherry ice cream packed into the flaky base, a simple vanilla soft-serve from a small stand in the amusement park by the river, or an orange “push-up,” always my favorite, bought with my savings from the walk-in freezer at Tiffin Avenue Carry-Out by the train tracks one block from our house.

  16. georgica pettus
    July 5, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    when the pitcher throws you a curve ball you try to hit it. although it may be simpler to just let it slide, the pay off comes when you realize that you have done something greater, something different than before. the fact is that in life, not everything will go your way or mine, the fact is, sometimes we will be thrown a curveball. this concept is easy to understand when you look at it like an object. picture an ice-cream cone: perfect swirl, taste and point at the top. but what happens if the imperfect machine messes up? well, then you have an ice-cream on a slant. far from perfection but the taste stays the same. sometimes, life won’t be what one imagined, it might be something different or even worse. but in reality it is important to remember, that like that ice-cream cone, if you don’t respect and savor it, it could melt way in minutes.

  17. Beth
    July 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I never walked the dog before. Manny was a strange animal. So white and clean and fluffy and beautiful but barely any personality. All id basically. He barked and clawed at you for food. Nothing else. Once he got what he wanted he would go off an sleep till the next reason to get up. But when Grandpa passed, I had to help where i could. The least I could do was walk the dog.

    I knew every night after dinner, the two of them would go on a walk. I told my brothers I would go over and walk the dog for a few nights after the housekeeper left. We needed to figure out what to do with Manny. The housekeeper wouldn’t take him for some reason that i didn’t understand. She said something in half Hungarian and half English that sounded like “because of potato pie” but at the time I didn’t question it. Years later, I found out she had a dog named Potato Pie who was very
    unfriendly to animals.

    It was pretty warm out that night. I got up to the apartment and used my key to get in. Grandma was in her rocker watching a detective show. Manny went crazy when he saw me pick up the leash. He did a dance on his hind feet. Grandma asked if I needed money, not sure why, but I didn’t.

    In the elevator, Manny stared at me, with his pink bubble gum tongue panting, almost salivating. I thought i should have let him get some water before we left. Or maybe it was something else. I know grandpa would’ve understood. I don’t speak Manny.

    We walked out onto second avenue and Manny seemed to know where he wanted to go. He pulled me towards downtown. He peed on a tree and then pooped on a small patch of grass. I picked it up and tossed it into one of those corner garbages. Before it even landed, Manny was starting to pull. He is a small guy, but he was trying to take me somewhere and he practically dragged me. We turned the corner and headed north to Third Avenue. As we reached the next corner, he slid around, heading north and before I knew it, he pulled me into a store.

    I looked up. A woman in a cooks apron and bright pink hat said ” the usual?” Before I could respond, she turned away and got busy. WIthin moments, she handed me two ice cream cones with the creamiest vanilla ice cream swirled perfectly. I told her Grandpa had passed weeks ago and I was alone here. She laughed. Strange reaction, I thought. She walked around the counter and handed me one cone. Then, she knelt down and let Manny lick his cone.

  18. c.E.g.
    July 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    The cold creamy texture welcomes my tongue. I can’t help but smile as the vanilla sneakily drips down my chin then grimace, irritated that its stained my t-shirt once again.

    I promise myself never again will I indulge myself in such a delicious treat because all it does is stain my clothes…

    But who can keep a promise such as that? Who can stop them self from taking a lick of that delicious creamy creation?

  19. Jackie Collins
    July 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Ice cream.
    What does it do?
    Puts a smile on your face…
    Gives you that yummy feeling.
    Reminds grown ups of their childhood.
    Makes you fat!
    And yes – it’s the absolute best (especially rum raisin)!

  20. Jessica B
    July 6, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    During Pandora’s third date with Lucas, she decided she was going to have to come clean. Their first meeting had been at a unit in her apartment building. This guy named Mike who she’d seen several times before, in the elevator every once in a while and just the other day at Baskin Robbins, had invited her to come by his keg party. It was the first time she’d been inside Mike’s place and the momentary discomfort she felt from not really knowing anyone was overridden as soon as Lucas stepped into her frame.
    “There’s wine too,” he said and that led to a quick introduction, as he escorted her to the kitchen (same layout as hers but with a really ugly peeling table and mismatched chairs) and he poured her a glass of something red and quite tasty even though Pandora could never have known it was a two hundred dollar bottle of 1998 Nob Hill Merlot that Lucas had brought from his parents winery in Napa.
    “Yum,” she said.
    “Cheers,” he said, taking her in. Her hair brown hair was still damp since she had taken a run after work and then jumped in the shower before coming two flights down to the party. She was gorgeous.
    Pandora was also a lightweight and within one glass of this incredible wine she had loosened up and was getting chatty with Lucas. He had sort of wiry hair that never would have looked good on a girl, but cut short on a guy with such chiseled features, it was suddenly quite appealing to her.
    “So how do you know Mike?” she asked.
    “Who’s Mike?” he sort of joked and they shared a smile.
    This was the first guy Pandora felt chemistry with since she had been dropped by her boyfriend for no apparent reason at her friend Jenny’s 24st birthday party two months before.
    “We have a mutual friend,” she explained, “but honestly, I don’t exactly know him.”
    “Neither do I really,” he said.
    She laughed and he laughed too, even though it wasn’t very funny and shortly after that he handed her his brand new iphone and she put in her phone number and that was that.
    Their first official date was the next Thursday night for sushi (an expensive spot that she’d never been too). Her hair was dry this time and it was lighter, fuller and even more striking than he initially realized. There was a lot of small getting to know you talk. Where were you born? He in San Francisco, she in Denver. College? He Berkley, her Colorado College. Why they had ended up on LA? He to take a year off before law school and work for a nonprofit, she to work at a progressive private school in Culver City as a third grade teacher.
    This may not really sound all that riveting, but it was. They were both feeling a mutual pull towards the other. They were more than smitten, they were literally tingling. When Pandora excused herself to go to the ladies room, she fanaticized about the Vera Wang gown she would wear at their wedding. And while Lucas waited, he imagined other things.
    So now there they were, second date, third time in each other’s presence, at a café in the Marina, before a planned bike ride on the boardwalk. The hostess put down menus and walked away.
    Lunch. She scanned the menu uncomfortably.
    There was a moment of awkward silence, their first.
    “Here’s the thing,” Pandora finally said.
    He wrinkled his brow and she could tell that one day he would have serious lines across his forehead. He would be even more attractive that way.
    “I think it’s better if I’m honest,” she blurted out.
    “Ok,” he said trying to hide his sudden rush of disappointment.
    After all, he had been with some pretty crazy and messed up girls in his past and nothing would necessarily surprise him. His first real girlfriend in high school was a shoplifter and after he split with her she broke into his locker, stole his computer and drove over it with her dad’s BMW. In college he had a girlfriend who plagiarized his essay on Madame Bovary. It was a fluke that the papers were both graded by the same T.A. and in the end she was expelled from Berkley. He tensed up, expecting the worse, but also telling himself not to rush to judgment.
    “I’m not really a lunch person,” she explained earnestly.
    Lucas closed his menu and exhaled. “Oh, that’s it?”
    “Well, that’s not all.” She just wanted to put it all out there. “I mean, I eat, but just not lunch food.”
    “Ok,” he said coolly, waiting for her to tell him more.
    “Well, I’m just, well, normally I eat ice cream. Which is food.”
    “Everyday?”
    “Pretty much.”
    “Even when you’re at school?”
    “Yup. I have a stash in the freezer in the teachers lounge.”
    “That’s weird.”
    She shrugged, relieved that he was taking this so calmly. “Not when you think about it.”
    He wrinkled again, but he was also smiling now.
    “You must know plenty of people who have a latte for breakfast,” she said, tossing her hair behind her shoulders. “At least I do. They go to Starbucks and get a vanilla latte and that is what they consider their first meal of the day.”
    “So?”
    “I don’t see the difference. I personally like to have a sensible breakfast. Usually eggs and toast, and lately I’ve been very into eating granola cereal with fruit. Really, ice cream is a pretty good lunch. I’m fairly certain it’s healthier than eating a burger and fries.”
    “Okay, but what about our kids. Do you plan to serve them ice cream for lunch?”
    “We’ll, not at first. But you know, when they’re 8 or 9 if they want to eat ice cream instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I clearly won’t have a problem with it.” Pandora suddenly shivered. “Wait, you said…”
    He looked at her and nodded, then reached across the table. Their hands linked.
    “Do you have a desert menu?” Lucas asked as their waitress floated by.

  21. dylan
    July 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    i scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

  22. dilly
    July 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    i walk down stairs to the fridge, open it up and see an empty tub of ice cream, i turn around and i see my mum with a spoon and a bowl in her hand and the look of guilt on her face. I never got that much ice cream during my child hood

  23. Anonymous
    July 7, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Once, when I was little, on holiday, I wanted an ice cream
    Apparently it was an unreasonable request
    I cried, as 5 year olds do
    My father smacked me
    I’m not very keen on ice cream any more…….

  24. sth
    July 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Vanilla ice cream reminds me of my mom, who is suffering from alzhimer’s and dimmensia. Last year when she was staying with us, every afternoon she loved to have ice cream. She enjoyed every bite and kept repeating ” this is so good, it is not too sweet, would you like to have some?” That small bowl of ice cream made her so happy…..and there are so many “small bowls of ice cream” in my life, I only need to be present to every moment to see them

  25. Deanna Schlesinger
    July 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    A perfect ice cream cone… Always hard for me to pick the best flavor. When I was young, it was orange sherbet or rainbow sherbet. Today it would be something fattening, with cookie dough or caramel crunch. Let’s all enjoy the lazy days of summer! My husband just brought me a Ben and Jerry’s bar. I’m definitely enjoying mine.

  26. stephanie
    July 9, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Rory, I have such great respect for your determination that I am going to tell you what that ice cream cone reminds me of… Baskin Robbins, or” 31 Flavors”, as it was known to all of us who grew up in Beverly Hills, when it was a smallish, much more quiet town. When there was Newberry’s on Beverly Drive, and Toy Mart, and Rite Aid was Thrifty’s, and we could all ride our bikes and roller skate on the sidewalks. Don’t see that very often anymore.
    Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream. Delicious and a real treat.

  27. Een
    July 10, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    Ice cream reminds me of being a little girl. I lived in Westchester County back then. Our apartment was a big open loft seated on top of a bakery. I loved coming home from school and smelling the fresh bread.The stairs were always so warm and cozy from all of the baking going on behind the wall.
    My best friend Letty lived across the alley. She was 5 years older than me. On those hot and humid NY days we would ride our bikes to the main street and stop at Baskin Robbins. My favorites then were Rainbow Sherbet and Bubble Gum. I don’t think I have the patience now to sit through a bowl of Bubble Gum (too much effort to chew all of those frozen gum balls!) but back then those carefree afternoons were the best.

  28. [email protected]
    July 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Wow, after reading all these amazing comments/short stories I will never view ice cream as just ice cream again. That’s the beauty of being creative. You don’t take simple things for granted & we all have a story to tell!!!

    Have really enjoyed reading them!!

  29. Jackie S-H
    July 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Reading these entries distracted me for the last hour and down memory lane I went. So many stories involving grandparents and ice cream triggered one in me….eating endless amounts of vanilla ice cream packed between wafers in my grandmother’s kitchen. I don’t think I have eaten that kind of ice cream sandwich since…perhaps it’s time.

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