Why do I want to go home for the summer? Root beer.
Never will I ever say no to a mug of root beer from a little, local drive-in by Lake Wawasee in Syracuse, Ind. Known in our family as “the root beer stand,” I’ve been trained to drop in at least once a week throughout the summer.
A large mug is $1, it’s made in-house, and it tastes like sugary childhood.
For such an ordinary place — the yellow paint is faded, and letters are missing from the overhead menus — some of the best moments of my summers happen at the root beer stand.
My grandparents treat me to spontaneous visits, and I share my grandma’s excitement about how good this pop is. My cousin Ally and I stay for hours chatting about school, friends and Jesus. I take my little cousins for root beer floats and silly laughs. My boyfriend and I order the mozzarella sticks, and the waitresses ask why we’re there for the third time in two days. We’re there for good talks, sunshine, accountability, family and encouragement. Root beer.
But why don’t I want to leave college for the summer? Ice cream cones.
My best friend Brittany and I would never say no to ice cream cones, and we’ve conducted Greenville ice cream crawls so that we can rank cream and cone quality. It’s kind of a hobby. It’s enjoying a reward after long nights in the Collegian office. It’s celebrating the arrival of Friday or a sunny day — or an ice storm. It’s the precious time spent between two busy college students.
We all have our own root beer and ice cream cones, the things that carry significance far deeper than the item itself. They’re also the things that make the end of the semester bittersweet.
For most students, the beginning of summer tastes sweeter than a cherry popsicle, but the realization of what will be absent can be tough to swallow.
Why can’t I have root beer and ice cream cones all at once? It would be too sweet, I guess.
Maybe the bittersweet tradeoff from semester to summer is meant to remind us that we don’t always need all the blessings of life at the same time. A little taste is all we need.
Maybe the tearful tradeoff is meant to remind us of the joys that await in Heaven, when we’ll never be separated from those who are in Christ.
While sweet summer and root beer are a mere week into the future, the ice cream cones will only be served up a few more times this semester (every day of exams calls for a cone), and I don’t know how I feel. I guess I’m a little confused like Winnie the Pooh was often puzzled. Yet for a bear who couldn’t spell and ate too much honey, some of his sentiments weren’t half bad. “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”