People Don’t Cry at an Ice Cream Stand
By David Wantz, University of Indianapolis
Here in Indiana, we have frozen custard stands. On a hot summer night people will line up to get a dish or cone of what others might call ice cream, but we call frozen custard. The lines are long, but folks don’t seem impatient. Kids run around, parents shift from one foot to another and wait patiently. The service is rarely efficient and the heat melts the treat before you can eat it. But folks always act happy at an ice cream stand.
There is something pleasant about eating ice cream. You just can’t do it and be mad.
Gene Sease, when he was president of the University of Indianapolis, used to head off stormy meetings by inviting people to walk across campus with him to the dining hall. He would tell them he had a standing appointment to get a bowl of ice cream. He wouldn’t bring up the topic of the conversation until after he and his guests were deep in their bowls. You can’t stay mad and eat ice cream. Then he would begin the conversation in earnest.
In Franklin, Indiana, Marc Adams operates the largest hands-on woodworking school in the US. People come from all over the world to learn how to carve, build, veneer, and turn wood into elegant pieces of furniture. He has machine rooms full of expensive tools, and cabinets crammed with razor-sharp chisels and saws. The machine that gets the most use and requires his daily attention, though, is the ice cream machine.
Folks will work around a problem if the table saw is not working, but they get cranky if the ice cream machine is down. So, every night before he goes to bed, he checks on the supplies and flips a switch to make sure the dispenser is working because his students will expect ice cream to be ready the next day.
Marc knows that people tend to be a little more patient when they are eating ice cream. “We’ll get this saw running again in short order. While we’re working on it, why not go get some ice cream.” It always works.
Grandmothers know that soup comforts a cold. “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” Franklin told us. And you can’t be mad when you are eating ice cream.
Maybe you have some thoughts about food as well. Let me invite you to share them during the 15th annual Spirit and Place Civic Festival this year. The theme is Food for Thought and will run from November 5 through 14. I am David Wantz and I am a member of the S&P board. I hope you will join us.