Sometimes, a simple celebration in the middle of long summer day creates the perfect break. Today was such a day. I haven’t checked the daily holiday website for a while. Doing so, I was delighted to learn that among other unusual holidays, today is National Strawberry Sundae Day. It is also National Chocolate Day. However, fruit sounded lighter and cooler on a hot sticky day. I opted to go with strawberries!
For cold treats, Andy’s Frozen Custard, located on south Range Line in Joplin, is one of my favorite stops. The restaurant has a seasonal strawberry treat that came to mind, for celebrating today’s yummy holiday. The sundae features Grandma Elaine’s shortbread topped with vanilla frozen custard and sliced strawberries. It was cold and delicious without being too heavy.
Looking up National Strawberry Sundae Day, I couldn’t find the origins for the holiday. However, strawberries definitely symbolize summertime for me. Pausing in my day for a cold delicious treat didn’t require explanations or historical evidence. I just went with it. That’s the way I like to roll!
I am weary today. Not discouraged or depressed, but tired, deeply so, a result of long days, short nights and an extended time of heightened alertness. We only spent half the day in Arkansas, taking care of some business and spending time in Dad Moore’s home.
The house feels still, the absense of Greg’s dad notable in a way that’s changed since yesterday, even though he’s been out of the house all week. It is the knowledge that he won’t return that shifted the energy. Anticipation is gone.
However, we enjoyed looking for photos, exclaiming over long forgotten pictures tucked into drawers, boxes and shelves. I found a large box full of aviation photos that I have never seen before. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at the handsome young man sitting cross-legged on the wing of an airplane. How Bob loved to fly!
After a brief and delicious nap, I joined Greg and daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate for a cold treat at Andy’s. I deliberately choose a flavor of concrete that I had never had before, key lime pie, in the spirit of first things. We sat around a small table and enjoyed our simple treats. I loved the joy of spending a few minutes chatting with dear loved ones. We talked about loss…Greg’s dad and a friend of Adriel’s and Nate’s. We talked about life. We laughed. We hugged tightly outside the restaurant before heading off separately into the beautiful evening.
That simple treat, the ice cream and the time with family, was as restorative as the nap. I left feeling more alert, less tired. Tomorrow I am taking a Me Day, spending time resting and puttering in my garden. I can reflect and allow my body and heart, mind and spirit to center as I allow peace and joy to surround me. It’s going to be another beautiful day!
I realized today, when I needed to shift firsts, that Andy’s Frozen Custard has become my “fall back” first! At the beginning of the year, as I made lists of possible firsts, I had Andy’s down for a once a month visit. They offer a different flavor each month in a concrete or sundae. Then I eliminated sugar from my diet, along with dairy products, so it was bye-bye Andy’s! I allow myself an occasional treat now and it’s great to know I can always try something new at my favorite frozen custard store.
For today’s first, I had the monthly special, a blackberry concrete. I love berries. Blueberries are my top pick, but blackberries are a close second. When I saw what the June special was, I opted for that. I have to admit a small pang as I ordered, when I saw the butter pecan concrete in bold print on the menu board. I haven’t had one of my old favorites since I began limiting my sugar intake. But I powered through the craving and carried my small blackberry concrete to a high top table to enjoy.
And enjoy it I did. This was my first blackberry concrete and it was very tasty and refreshing. The slightly tart berries mixed with the creamy frozen vanilla custard was a perfect pairing. And I decided to enjoy it without guilt. I am mindful of what I am eating these days and when I do have a treat, I want to savor it. As I was finishing up my concrete, I noticed for the first time a large picture hanging on the wall that told the story of the store’s creation. So in addition to trying a new concrete flavor, I also learned how Andy’s came into existence.
Titled “A Sweet Story to Share” the picture reads:
A great salesman can sell enough stuff – good or bad – to make a living. But when the product is amazing there is no need for a salesman at all…just a family of caring people who cannot wait to share their found treasure with as many people as possible. John & Carol Kuntz met Leon & Doris Schneider who had their own frozen custard store in Milwaukee since 1942. With Leon’s knowledge and guidance, John & Carol were able to open their first frozen custard store in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on March 19, 1986. The store was named after their son, Andy.
Lines of people began to gather to taste this incredible treat and the store took off like a rocket. The family moved to Springfield, MO to open more stores and soon Andy’s Frozen Custard became a household phrase. A Midwest Legacy was born.
Andy grew up in the business and worked alongside his wife, Dana, serving custard made the Milwaukee way – with only the best ingredients and made fresh every hour. Today sixteen Andy’s Frozen Custard stores bring the world’s best frozen custard to the people of the Midwest.
The Kuntz family continues the tradition today. Sadly, John Kuntz passed away in 2006 but Andy, Dana and Carol, along with the wonderful teams of associates, are keeping his fanatical practices of exceptional service, perfect product and extreme fun alive. It is through the eyes of a child that the definition of fun is written at Andy’s. After all….Andy’s makes it fun to be a kid for a while!
What a great story and indeed, a great legacy. I like being a kid at Andy’s, even if it’s just for a while. And I like blackberry concretes. The next time I need a default first, I’ll be back to try another concrete flavor!
My planned first for today didn’t involve family or food. However, when the day shifted and an opportunity presented itself for me to get together with my granddaughter, Aubrey, sister Linda, and her granddaughter, London, I seized it. Aubrey, 5 years old, and London, 4 years old, adore each other and treat each other more like sisters than second cousins. Aubrey misses London, and vice versa, when too much times passes without a play date.
We had a fun lunch at Chuck E Cheese. The girls chowed down on pizza, played games and danced with the mouse, Mr. Cheese himself. Since we’ve all eaten at this place many times, I considered dancing with him also, as a first. But that didn’t seem appropriate somehow.
As the girls used up their tokens, we discussed what we could all do, for my first today, that could involve the girls. We decided as we were leaving Chuck E Cheese to go to Andy’s for frozen custard. The little girls weren’t sure if they had eaten there before. Linda and I knew we had been there, and frozen custard isn’t on my list of acceptable foods, but off we went.
As we arrived in the parking lot, the girls recognized Andy’s. Everyone was agreeable to trying something new that they had not eaten before. London and Aubrey got children’s sundaes with rainbow sprinkles, Linda tried a new vanilla – chocolate concrete and I had Andy’s special for the month of May, a strawberry shortcake sundae. I did get the smallest size available!
The four of us had fun trying new treats. We chatted as we ate and snapped pictures to post with my blog and to capture a visual reminder of our special outing. The girls got to play at Linda’s house afterwards. These young ladies know how to get all the joy and fun possible out of spending time together. Watching them, listening to their animated conversations, clapping as they danced from their hearts, brought the assurance that all was well in my world. Children are wonderful teachers, showing by example how to live in the moment and find the happiness and perfection there. Thank you, Aubrey and London.
Today’s first was about getting out of my rut. When I eat at a restaurant, I tend to get the same meal or treat every time. I know I like it. I don’t have to think about it. Even when I say I’m going to try something new, I end up ordering my favorite.
Andy’s Frozen Custard offers a special concrete flavor each month. When I allow myself a concrete from Andy’s, I always get the Butter Pecan Concrete. Every time. Today, I broke away from my usual. I had the January special, the Bootdaddy Concrete. It was a delicious mix of frozen vanilla yogurt, oreo cookies, hot fudge topping and caramel.
I had a couple of yummy bites and saved the rest in the freezer. It was good. Did I miss my Butter Pecan? A little bit! Did I get out of my rut? A little bit! It is in braving the small things that I will move on to conquer the big things, one experience at a time. Bring it on!