I closed my cell phone and sat staring out the window, the contract on my desk forgotten for the moment.
“Joan, you coming down to the party?” Jack's head appeared around the edge of my office door.
“No...no, I don't think so”, I murmured.
“Something the matter?” Jack stepped inside the office with a look of concern.
I turned toward him. “Yeah, I just got a call from my sister Bonnie. Will's taken a turn for the worse. He's not eating anything. Now he's craving something called Strawberry Revel ice cream; something he apparently had as a boy.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Me either. Bonnie's looked all over for it with no luck. All she can find are regular strawberry and strawberry sherbet.”
“What is it about the Strawberry Revel that's special?”
“Evidently it's vanilla ice cream with strawberry syrup swirled into it.”
“Shame”, mused Jack. I've heard that people who have...”, an apologetic glance at me, “...cancer, sometimes start craving things they've enjoyed somewhere in their past. With my uncle Joe it was his mother's peach cobbler – something else we couldn't get anywhere. Anyway, there's nothing you can do about it – come on down and have some birthday cake and ice cream. Maybe it'll at least lift your spirits”
The sounds of laughter and chatter were a bit jangling after my conversation with Bonnie. I took the piece of cake that was handed to me and looked around for chocolate ice cream. Seeing only vanilla, I scooped some onto the plate and headed back to my office.
I started perusing the contract again, halfheartedly, and took a bite of the cake. Jack tapped on the door. He came in and sat down.
“You think I'm going to let you sit here by yourself and mope?”
I smiled a little weakly. That was exactly what I'd planned to do. I hated feeling so helpless.
“Hey, Joan.” Jack was looking at his plate. “Taste this ice cream.”
He looked up and watched while I put a spoonful in my mouth. “Mmmm, this is good...oh!”
“Yeah, it's not just vanilla.”
Back to the break room we both hurried. The clean up effort was in full swing. I began searching under sticky paper plates, soda cans, and wadded napkins for the ice cream lids. One peaked out from under the edge of one of the large cardboard cake platters. It read: Chocolate.
“Mary, who brought the ice cream?” I asked the admin who was heading the clean up.
“I did, why?” she said.
Just then: “Joan”, Jack spoke very softly.
He held a lid for me to see: Strawberry Revel was printed on it.
“Mary, where did you get the ice cream?” I was already moving toward my office to get my keys.
“Super Q. What's up?”
“I'll explain later. I've got to run out for a little bit.”
Super Q wasn't far. It was one of those gigantic warehouse type stores that carry items in large quantities. This one was a mile from one side to the other and half a mile from front to back. The ice cream was all the way at the back of the store.
Securing my precious purchase, I drove to Will and Bonnie's house and knocked on the door.
“Super Q”, I said when she opened the door. “I know it's a lot of ice cream but...”
“Oh my...thank you! Thank you so much!” She smiled through her tears as she hugged me.
Back at work I found Mary.
“Jack told me the story”, she said. “You want to hear the rest?”
“I was in a hurry this morning, running late already when I stopped at Super Q. I grabbed chocolate and vanilla, the popular flavors, and headed toward the front. I got about half way there when I realized I had the strawberry instead of vanilla. I started to turn around and take it back, but it was such a long way back, they were heavy, and, well...”
“Oh, Mary, you're an angel”, I said, hugging her. She was shaking.
“Joan, this gives me chills. What if...?”
I laughed. “Mary, I think God planned it just like it happened. He used you to do something miraculous and wonderful for someone else.”
From a true story and dedicated to my sister-in-law, the Bonnie in my story.
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