It’s been a long week, but as the weekend approaches, I can feel the excitement rising. Four o’clock and I am on the road. As I leave the Manhattan skyline behind, trading the noisy city for the serene, green, leafy roadway that will bring me to my summer home away from home.
The traffic starts to back up and I take a left instead of the right turn everyone else is making. No lemming run for our car as we coast through the curvy mountain roads towards summer’s ultimate treat. A mere 30 minutes out of the way ensures a silent, happy ride for the last half of the journey. Slowing down as I see the small strip mall, I turn in. Shouts of joy emanate from the back of the van as three lively and now “starving” kids crawl over and under each other, dragging wires and headphones in the rush to be the first to get their first taste of summer.
Driving up the Palisades Parkway, past Bear Mountain, and the scenic overlooks, my stomach does a happy flip flop as the signs for the junction of Route 17 approach. The kids, absorbed in the back seat, videos playing in our new Honda Odyssey, and the all too frequent complaints of “stop it!” have seen the road sign too. Suddenly, it gets quiet.
As soon as we walk into the shop, the familiar smell of cold, crisp, sweet soft serve assaults our senses. There is no other smell as unique, and the kids clamor to the counter, excited. Bayley asks for colored sprinkles, while Moshie insists on crushed cookies. Yanky is pleased with an extra-large scoop of vanilla chip ice cream, straight up, please and thank you. As I pay, gather up my black and white shake and wait for the kids to finish their treat, I glance over at the clock. Almost time to get moving to make it to the house before it gets too late.
Happy, satisfied, “sugarfied” kids now settle back in the cool cabin of the Honda Odyssey. They have received their bounty and will resist mutiny until we arrive at our summer retreat. I thank my lucky stars for this brief stop and begin the drive back to Route 17. With a little luck, there will be a smooth drive, and we will pull into the graveled roads of our summer home away from home in an hour.