When I was about two, my little sister was born. Daddy, who often worked long hours at the restaurant and only saw Mommy and I in the late late evening, suddenly found himself on Daddy duty for more than the brief bonding hour at the end of the day. Now, with Mommy in hospital or at home with the new baby, he was left to entertain me on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Ever the social animal, his plan for keeping me occupied was simple: go to the Bamboo Drive-In. This was a kitschy little fast-food drive-in with two single arches over a tiny building; it was owned and operated by his buddy, and it also happened to serve the best soft serve in town. Daddy would drive me over, score a free cone (because that's what friends do - they give you free stuff for your kids because to charge you would seem petty and cheap), and have a nice little visit with his buddy while I dribble-licked the fast-melting mountain of ice milk that was slowly softening the crispy cone.
Of course, I don't remember the exact details of my first visits - I was only two, and that was a million years ago. However, I do recall how excited I felt each time we drove past the Bamboo Drive-In in subsequent years, and how wonderfully thrilling it was when Daddy actually pulled into the lot. He would take us back, my sister and I, quite a few times in the years to come, until the Bamboo switched ownership, stopped giving us free cones, and eventually closed its doors.
Now that Little L is two, and also showing a taste for ice cream, I hope to create a similar memory for her, particularly with Hubbs. I hope that she will get that same giddy feeling inside when he takes her out to the ice cream shop (even if it's DQ and not a cute indie parlour), and I hope that one day she, too, will be able to look back at her early years and think fondly of her Daddy spending time and bonding with her over a sweet creamy ice cream cone.
And maybe, just to remember Dad today, I might pop in and get one myself.