The Worst Ice Cream in the World

A few good laughs to cheer the day.

Life is full of different experiences. You never quite know what will be the novelty that will disrupt your normal course of life. And sometimes, the event will just want to make you laugh.

In this occasion, my wife and I went away for a long weekend in the Saratoga Springs New York area. We were blessed with incredibly beautiful weather; this should have been a sign. Since when does anyone take a vacation, whether long or short, and everything work out perfectly? Not ever.

Arriving in Saratoga Springs, there was a light shower of rain. We had reservations at an Italian restaurant called Forno Bistro. It is situated attached to a converted brick building which also houses a Rug store.  Out front are beautiful trees, bushes and flowers. Beneath the tall trees were lawn chairs for the waiting guests.

When we arrived at the restaurant, they had our reservation, but the table was not ready yet. Meanwhile, I could see a row of tables for two under patio umbrellas not in use. They asked us to wait, and we took the opportunity to sit under the trees and have an order of drinks sent to us. It was quite pleasant and cool as the very light rain fell, but not enough to be felt. Rather quicker than I hoped our table was ready, I was quite enjoying the relaxed environment on the lawn with a glass of Woodford Reserve in my hand.

We were then taken to our seats. The interior of the restaurant was loud and the crowd boisterous. Once I sat in my seat, I could feel a cold breeze from the air conditioning units hitting the back of my neck. We moved the table ourselves a few inches away, hoping that would correct the situation, but it did not. I then went out to the hostess and asked to be reseated.

The manager came over and after having checked the weather forecast believed that the worst had passed and sat us outside, this time on the porch which is where we actually had wanted to sit from the start. We ate to our hearts delight and skipped dessert. After our dinner the rain once again began to fall and still only as a mist.

We decided to seek out coffee and dessert. We stopped in at a small jazz club, where there was barely room to breathe, let alone shout over to the bartender to get a drink. We left after a few short minutes. Walking around town, you could hear loud music emanating from the many nightclubs while scantily dressed young woman and loud young men strolled the streets looking for their next adventure. But we, being over a certain age that does not seek the same, could not find a place to have a cup of coffee. This is something unheard of in New Jersey, where you can find diners all over the state and most are open 24 hours a day. We retreated to the hotel where the restaurant bar was still open, only to discover that they would not serve us coffee either! Explain to me how they can’t make coffee at a bar at 10 o’clock at night?

The next morning we went to Lake George to spend the day there with my wife’s sister and her partner. We met at a restaurant attached to the Marriott Courtyard called Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen for breakfast. We waited only a few short minutes to be seated.

Actually, our waitress seated us. As she walked us to the table, she giggled, telling us there was no reason we had to wait, that the new host was just not skilled yet. I thought her giggling was odd, and appeared to be more of a nervous one. When she asked if we wanted coffee, I asked if they made iced coffee. She responded in the affirmative with yet again another giggle. Later, when my wife’s sister asked what type of bacon they served, she went into a full out cackle, and responded “from pig of course”. Then my wife’s sister read from the menu that it was applewood smoked. The waitress confirmed that and went away.

The giggling did not stop, and it was constant after everything the waitress said. It wasn’t until later that evening that I realized the effect she had on me. She basically gave me the creeps! In conversation that evening I brought it up and realized how grateful I am that we were not staying in the Marriott in Lake George because I would have had fears of a Psycho movie type occurrence with that waitress on my mind. We all laughed about it, but the truth is I can still hear her crazy cackle in my mind, and the mere thought of it send shivers down my spine.

Finally, on our last evening, we were lucky enough to get the last seat to a wonderful jazz show at Café Lena’s. The three-piece band performed masterfully, and we were so happy to have had the experience. When it ended, it was still too early to go back to the hotel, and we decided to seek out dessert. I really wanted a sit down café, but we ended up at an ice cream shop called Kilwin’s. We ordered a scoop each, one flavor was pistachio and the other coconut. We ate it sitting on a bench on the same street and the ice cream itself, for us, was not special, but we did enjoy it.

As we finished our ice cream, we noticed people coming with ice cream cones in their hands from the other direction. We got the idea to go to the other store for fun and order the same flavors to compare.

We found the store, and it was called Saratoga Gelato. We went in and ordered the pistachio and coconut. It was expensive, but the girl behind the counter was very sweet, and we gave her a nice tip any way. We proceeded to go out of the store and sit at another bench to eat the ice cream. The pistachio had a strange flavor and the coconut was worse than bland. I kept tasting the coconut because I could not believe there was absolutely no flavor at all. We disliked it so much that we threw them in the garbage. It was the first time that either of us have ever thrown away ice cream. Hence, we claim that we have made a great discovery and found the worst ice cream in the world! Of course, this could have just been bad batches, but we won’t be returning there either way.

These simple observations and memories will bring joy and laughter for years to come. Life is truly full of twist and turns, and one does not have to look so hard to find the joy in every one.

The Catholic Church and False Mercy

The Catholic Church and False Mercy

The Catholic Church, of which I am but one very small part of the body, represents to hold to the truth of the teachings of the Jesus Christ and the Church he founded. This I hold to and believe with all my heart. At the same time, it is made up of men and women, of which we are all fallen and sinful creatures. As sinful creatures we must always be repenting and struggling to reach a life of saintliness. This is the true goal of every member of the Church. Simply, we believe that by abiding by the teachings given to us by Jesus and His Apostles we will attain everlasting life. This is the faith simplified.

The Church of course, outside its direct goal of teaching love, saving souls and bringing them into eternal life, is also full of beauty. The sacrifice of Christ, the ultimate gift of love and beauty, surrounds us at every turn. The actions and lives of the Saints declared by the Church show us the path to eternal life. They also give us the inspiration to turn from evil and temptation. Their inspiration has driven artists and poets for centuries and will continue to do so as they attempt to put to canvas or words the beauty of love, they so espoused.

However, in those words and paintings there is plenty of expression of the repentance they had to face, the suffering they had to persevere, and the insults of the evil of their times they had to accept. The tough decisions they had to make, and the tough love and teachings they had to share.

Our modern society has forgotten what it takes to do the right thing. It has forgotten how to show true mercy and love to an individual. It instead has turned to accept the basest of ideas of what humans should be or are. It has created generations of spoiled children demanding rewards for their wrongdoing. It has created selfish egocentric individuals whose primary thought is always of themselves and to gain position and importance by destroying instead of building. They seek the demise of the good for the purpose of forcing their evil ideals on others. This will pass.

Yet, the question is: Why has the authority of the Catholic Church vacillated? Do the leaders of our Church have the right to sit by and let this happen? As individuals, they have the right to take whatever action they may wish, but as consecrated religious they do not. But those who do not take right and proper action to defend not just the faith, not just morality but most importantly the souls of each and every soul entrusted to Her are in direct contradiction with the true teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Just like Satan had convinced Adam and Eve that they would be enlightened by doing evil, so has he entered into the Church to project a false mercy. Through what is falsely portrayed as concern for sinners, we have a cowardice to teach the truth of the faith to all peoples. Where do these cowards who hide behind mounds of words and twist simple truth into a vague cloud of smoke or deception come from? I can only assume that they work for the evil one and have rejected Christ and his Church.

There is simply no other way to see this. If some leaders of the Roman Catholic Church who equivocate, genuinely believed in the teachings of Jesus Christ, they would have the courage needed to teach the truth. The Apostles left us a clear understanding of the meanings and teachings of Christ. It is not mercy when some bishops do not correct sinful scandalous behavior. It is not mercy, when they stand by and support a man or woman that spends their energy in the murder of innocents and claim to be Catholic. It is not mercy when in the guise of love, we protect sexual promiscuity of all kinds and in turn deny the holiness of marriage and the family. Because simply put, when you deny them the truth and accept evils, it is not love but condemning souls to eternal damnation that may have been saved.

All persons whether they be in a state of grace or living in sin deserve our love. But that love has to be real and honest. It has to care for the individual first but then teach them the truth simultaneously.

For those who are obstinate in supporting evil even when knowing and understanding the truth of the teachings of the Church and claiming to be part of the Church, they must be corrected. If they are public in their obstinacy, then they must be corrected publicly. It cannot be acceptable that they lead others to sin. Those in the Church’s positions of authority to do so and do not are also guilty of that same sin and worse because they are allowing this error to resonate and appear acceptable to those inside and out of the Church.

The Church and its members spend much of their wealth and energy sharing their love by caring for the sick, the imprisoned and the sinner. We walk with them in their times of struggle and try to lead them to the way of the Lord. However, it becomes increasingly harder to share the truth when many bishops would rather win a popularity contest with politicians and the public rather than focus on their principal function which is the saving of souls.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones* who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matt 18:6)