Tag Archive | Wisconsin

The Power of An Ice Cream Cone

ice cream cones (1)

On Wednesday the weather was in the 80’s. The sky was blue. The birds were singing -you get the point, it was a gorgeous day. It was a perfect day to drive my friends Dave and Terry to the airport with the car windows open. Ken didn’t want to come along for the ride because he was feeling “under the weather,” but I coerced him to come, saying all he had to do was sit and look out the window.

You see, in our part of the woods, Mother Nature can be a bitch. Three days of beautiful weather now followed by cold, rainy and in some parts of Wisconsin — snow — over a foot and a half in the city of Rice Lake. Yicks!

Because such weather fluctuations are normal in Wisconsin, I knew I had to seize Wednesday and have some fun. I wanted Ken to enjoy the day with me. I’ll admit it. My motives were selfish. I wanted some time with him away from our four walls. I know he felt crappy because he’s always up for an outing, but I also know the power of seeing friends and changing our scenery. Besides, I had a surprise in mind for him.

After we wished our friends a good journey, I rolled the windows down, turned up the radio and blasted out of the airport.  Then I headed North–the opposite direction from going home. I knew one thing that would perk up my sweet suffering husband, so I headed for “Leon’s” – his favorite frozen custard place. Leons drivein (1)


As we drove along, Ken didn’t say anything. Now, I was really worried about him because he always comments when I take a different route–especially one in the opposite direction of where we should have been going. It wasn’t until he saw St. Luke’s hospital in the distance, did he realize where he was.

He grinned like a little boy. “We’re going to that ice cream place, aren’t we?”

I smiled at him. “It’s about time you figured out where we are. Yes. I thought you’d like a treat.”

I pulled into the nostalgic ice cream shop that dates back to the 1940’s, parked the car, and walked up to the window to place our order for two double-dip cones.

With a big broad smile, I handed him his favorite butter pecan treat, and we sat in the parking lot, enjoying every lick. As we quietly pretended it was summer, we chatted about how good the ice cream was. We talked about dinner options. We both hoped Dave and Terry would have a good time on their vacation. For about ten minutes, we were our old selves without a care in the world. All because we were taken out of our everyday situation by an ice cream cone.

After the last lick, I started the car and blended into the heavy 27th Street traffic to catch the freeway that would bring us back home. As I drove along, I turned up the oldies on the radio and sang all the way to our driveway. I felt like a kid again. Ken smiled as I belted out, “Born to Be Wild.” Our little excursion turned out to be magical. Not only did Leon’s lifted Ken’s spirits,  it brought me back to some of the happiest, most carefree times in my life. Singing with the radio to tunes I loved as a teenager, made me feel young and carefree.

My point? Well, it’s just this. Simple pleasures are there for the taking.  Enjoy an ice cream cone in the middle of the week. Get out into the good weather and keep the blinds shut on the bad days. If you wait for a “special” occasions to live your life, you may miss the most marvelous events that are right in front of you. Carpe diem–Baby!

Where Is Home, Anyway?

Ever since I could remember, I always wanted to move away from Racine, Wisconsin. I told myself I never had the opportunity to do so because I moved from my parent’s home to my husband’s home at a very young age. I never went to college when I was 18, so I never formed my own idea of who I was or what I wanted to do.  It took me a long, long, time to achieve that.

But here I am. Still in Racine, Wisconsin.

Why? Well, the truth of the matter is, I got okay with myself.

Let me explain. After my divorce about 20 years ago, I was already to pack up and move to Florida. I dreamed of palm trees growing in my front yard and the ocean or gulf only steps away from my home. But an angel came into my life and showed me a change in geography would not fix my problems; it would only add to them. My hurts and estrangement from my children would only get worse. She said I needed to go home and fix me, then I would be free to move somewhere else. Then it would be a good thing. Luckily, I had grown ears to hear her.

So, I went back to Racine.

It took me over a year to fix everything I needed to fix. One of the biggest things I had to do was forgive myself for allowing someone else live my life. I had to forgive myself for letting someone treat me badly for as long as they did. I had to forgive myself for letting others make my choices. That was the most difficult part.

And you know what happened? After I came to terms with myself, the relationships were mended, and things started to turn around. I made new friends, while keeping keeping my oldest, best friends, who had supported me through the lowest time in my life, And miraculously, I didn’t want to move any more. When I traveled, I didn’t dread going home any longer; I looked forward to returning. Racine was my home, and I realized how much I had here. It’s a nice town. In all my travels, I hadn’t found anything better.

That’s because home is more than a location. It’s personal history; it’s friends; it’s family; it’s memories. When Ken waltzed into my world, it got even better. We built a happy life together. Here. In Racine–one of the oldest cities in Wisconsin. It’s a pretty city on Lake Michigan that has gone through some rough times during the past 20 years.

It’s trite, I know, but home truly is where the heart is. And mine is planted right here where I was born.