More Than Free Ice Cream

More than Free Ice Cream
Meeting JerryWhen I say that I enjoy ice cream, I’m not referring to a passing fancy or even a mild obsession. I’m talking full-on passion. And when given the option, I’d rather eat at Ben & Jerry’s than anywhere else. My intense devotion goes beyond just the brand name and dotes on two particular flavors which I order in a cone, without fail, every time I come: Chocolate Therapy and Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz.
So, when Ben & Jerry’s of Franklin Street reopened its doors Wednesday after almost a month-long closing for renovations (which included the addition of an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels), I made a beeline to wait in a long line with other excited ice cream-starved patrons. Donning jackets and umbrellas, I waited in line with friends for a good 45 minutes in the pouring-down rain. We had our eyes trained on the distant sweet-smelling threshold, which, once passed, promised free scoops of ice cream and soft pretzels.
While I had thought the rain would deter less-fervent ice cream connoisseurs, I had underestimated Ben & Jerry’s ability to throw a good party. A juggler pranced around the shop on stilts while a DJ played soothing jazz and several artistically-inclined people painted faces and made balloon hats for the kids and the kids-at-heart. And of course, Dance Marathon volunteers stood outside the door, rattling cans at the ever-growing line and enticing patrons’ hearts (and bellies) to make a donation “for the kids” and for a pass to the front of the line.
Once inside we were in for the sweetest treat of all. Not free ice cream (that would come later) but rather the chance to meet one of the founders. With a salt-and-pepper beard, twinkly eyes and a booming voice, Jerry Greenfield danced to the music and whooped with the crowd. He also posed for photographs and indulged any and everyone in conversations about their favorite flavors. I also asked for a picture and couldn’t help but add a quick history of my long-standing devotion. He commended my “dedication” and taste.
I proceeded through the line where I was met with one last surprise. This one not quite so sweet. The shop was out of both of my favorite flavors, leaving me with no choice but to branch out. After enjoying a scoop of New York Super Fudge Chunk (a definite winner but no contestant compared to my ever-enduring favorites), I ripped the paper from my cone and requested a signature. Jerry (and, yes, I believe we are on a first-name basis now), or at least his signature, now hangs on my dorm room wall as a testament to true love and devotion and a memory of just one thing UNC students do on a rainy afternoon.

Emily PalmerEmily Palmer, a sophomore global studies and creative writing student from Durham, is an intern for the Carolina Alumni Review. She is blogging for the Review and wants to hear about your can’t-miss experiences while at Carolina.