It was a spectacular day. I can't even begin to describe the spectacularness of the day. (But I'll try.) Clear blue sky. Fixed the chimney, cleaned out the upstairs closet, made a trip to the dump with an old couch frame, headed out to Five Island Lobster Company, only to find it was closed. Big disappointment! Second time that's happened to me! Mediocre lunch instead, and they had just run out of the best-looking thing on the menu (fried clams.) Then finally to the ice cream place that serves Shain's of Maine, and usually in the Fall has Indian Pudding ice cream, which is (and these are big words) my favorite ice cream of all time. I usually eat it as my break fast after yom kipper, but this year I am up in Maine for rosh hashone, and won't be for yom kipper, so we went in today to have some for the new year. Walking in, I had a feeling it wouldn't be there. Maybe I was feeling cautious after our Five Island and fried clam fiascos, and you know what? My instincts were pretty good. No Indian Pudding. When I asked when it would be in, the server looked over my head and said, "Ask him." "Him" was Jeff Shain, owner of Shain's of Maine, who happened to be delivering a supply of frozen sweetness.
I told him how much I love his ice cream; he told me he doesn't have the right base for Indian Pudding yet, and he is going to have to make his own and it's gonna take a few weeks. I told him I eat that ice cream to break fast on yom kipper; he told me he's afraid he might go to hell for that. I tried to explain that it was a good thing, but it seems like my phrase "breaking a fast" might have been confusing, as if I was breaking the fast before it was done. I let it go and ordered some Grapenut instead. We went outside to eat it, and as he came by with his hand truck, I went over and said, "Jeff, Jeff. I have to tell you. Breaking a fast is a good thing. It's when the fast is supposed to be over, and you are supposed to eat, and you eat something very special." He blushed a little.
All four of us got to talking. His store and facility are in Sanford. Me: "Oh, my cousin used to live in Sanford. He used to be married to a wonderful woman who grew up there. Maybe you know Kim C—? He graduated with Kim, of course. One of their kids was in the same class. Of course. Andy asked him his favorite flavor. "Vanilla, because it's pure and simple." That morphed into a conversation about what base he uses for different ice creams, and why, and how he mixes in the flavors, and when. By now, friends, we were thick in the middle of the selfish part of this conversation, because he was holding a hand truck and had to get to work, and I was just sitting there eating ice cream talking with the owner of the company that makes my top favorite ice cream of all time. We somehow covered Syria "I just hope the President reads the bible." And business models (Make a VERY affordable lobster roll—almost dangerously cheap so that people might think it's crap—and use it to get people into your ice cream store, and your ice cream sales just might go up 47%!) And finally, after plenty of gabbing, out of the blue, Jeff says to me, "When are you coming back up to Maine?" And I said I planned to be up for Common Ground Fair, and he said, "Well, give me a call. I will probably need a taster for that new Indian Pudding."
And that, my friends, is an offer I can't refuse. Selfish joy rewarded.
And we hadn't even gotten to my favorite beach in Maine yet. (Popham) Or stopped at Red's (no line!) for grilled haddock sandwiches, lobster rolls, and fried clams on the way home.
It was a spectacular day.