I’m steering the red SUV through endless Ohio towns. Roads are closed in a flurry here right now. The last months of construction have got me detouring through towns I’ve never seen before, and I’m turning around in many nice driveways when I miss those “No Outlet” signs.
After my third detour in three towns, I get a hankering for some ice cream. Not a big sundae or anything by Baskin Robbins, but soft-serve. I’m dreaming about soft-serve as I drive, someone dropping big dollops of the stuff from the sky on top of me. Me sliding down a big mountain of it, etc. These are the dreams that foodies always have.
Milford Center is a tiny town that is less than a wide spot on highway 4, and just as I’m blinking and passing it by, I spot a small wood one-story building on my right. The hand painted sign says, “Woody’s Dairy Bar and Pizza.”
There are no cars at Woody’s, save one that I assume is someone who works there. It has two walk up windows in front, but a side door that opens into a tiny eating area that might hold 12 people if you stacked them like wood. One lady is watching “The Young and the Restless” on a TV sitting in one of the three booths, and an older lady with tiny wire frames is behind the counter. I thump down on a stool, give a wave to them both and tell them I’ve been dreaming of soft-serve ice cream and could I get a large vanilla.
While I wait for the cone, the three of us talk a bit about the weather. Did I come through rain? Was there rain where I was this morning? Have I ever seen so many days straight with rain? When I see the cone coming at me, I take a bit of a breath. It’s gigantic. Think Skywalker. Think light saber. The lady hands it to me and it’s the exact size and weight of a $48 flashlight. I’m dumbstruck. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get it out the door of the place without ducking.
The ladies keep talking, oblivious to my delight, my horror, my stupendous amazement at the size of the behemoth cone.
I give it a few licks to get started. I spin on the stool and watch some of the show. Victor is still good looking, I’m glad to see, and still running Genoa City with that Euro accent and his fancy suits.
Five minutes in and the cone is now the size of what you might get for $5 at Dairy Queen if the server was hopped up on something. It now resembles a big cone.
“What a cone,” I say.
“Good, isn’t it? Good on a muggy day,” the younger lady says.
“Big, I meant, actually. It’s a huge cone.”
The older lady sort of cocks her head. “You should come after 4 o’clock.”
The younger lady says, “Yeah, when Kenny’s here, he makes really big ones.”
With about 4 inches to go on the cone, I figure I’ve sat there long enough. I say goodbye and walk out to my car. As I drive away, I dream about soft-serve again, but now I dream about Kenny, this magical man who appears at Woody’s after 4, and makes the big cones. I will have to think about that some more. One day, maybe when I’m rested, I’ll come back.