Friday, January 4, 2013

Banana Split

It's been cold here since the New Year.  Very cold.

Better during the last week in December, but there was some snow on my route from Harrisonburg to Boston on the 26th.  Route 81 was so bad that both lanes were clogged with trucks and travelers returning from visiting family--all vehicles skidding on a thin layer of ice as the snow came down. I drove in Buffalo and Albany and Binghamton in the 70s and early 80s so I have some experience driving on bad roads. This was as bad as it can get.  Finally, I pulled over to a motel after going only 70 plus miles in three hours.  The next day was fine and I drove all the way back in mostly great weather with time to chill before the cold set in as 2012 ended without incident.

The motel I pulled into in Winchester VA was just fine.  The good news was that it was warm, the staff friendly, the ramp back onto 81 easy to access.  There was a hot breakfast the next day and a restaurant attached for dinner the night I arrived. The bad news was that the restaurant was a Denny's--not a welcome sight as I have found the fare in the chain typically bland over the years.  A waitress was very nice and kept calling me honey which I overheard she called everyone from ages 8 to 98. The omelette I had was good enough and I was about to end it with that when I saw a banana split advertised on the dessert menu.

For some reason that banana split looked like the treat of treats on the menu.  I can't tell you why I have rarely had these over the years, but I haven't opting often for hot fudge sundaes as an adult, ice cream sodas as a teenager, and malteds as kid.  This banana split looked like just the sort of thing that a fellow who had driven three hours on ice deserved to eat.  So I, honey, asked for one.

What is a banana split? It is a banana, split.  I buy bananas at home.  My understanding is they are good for potassium.  When I was an active tennis player playing in tournaments I would eat a bunch of these in the days before a tournament to preclude cramping which, otherwise, was inevitable if I played several matches in a weekend.  So, I know bananas and can split them.  I also buy ice cream on a regular basis and this tendency is a good reason why I need to spend over an hour on the elliptical each evening or otherwise look something akin to a heiffer. 

So, it would be easy to make myself a banana split, but I can't remember ever having done so. 

Out it came. The waitress said, "enjoy honey" and I went at it.  

It tasted like a banana with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream.  Not as exotic as I imagined it would be.  I sat in my booth for a while thinking about banana splits and how something like a banana with icecream in it had become an attractive dessert offering that had, just moments ago, appeared to me to be something far more grand than what it was.

Coach Bill Belichick is wont to say "It is what it is" when he refers to phenomena.  I guess that is what I can say about a banana split.  It is what it is, nothing more.  I think, however, there are phenomena--unlike banana splits--that transcend what they are.  

Some sporting events, for example, transcend what they are.  This weekend's and next weekend's football games will be more than 22 players pushing one another around.  Ask hockey fans, who are missing the season because of the NHL labor dispute, if the absence of a hockey season is just missing a series of games, or something more.  Human relationships are also more than what they are.  A kiss is more than just a kiss for those who are attached at the heart.  

But a banana split--unlike emotional desserts like an exciting sporting event or a loving embrace--it just is what it is.  

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