By Don Rush

You know, I am not a hateful man.
I am not one to hold a grudge. I find it a waste of time and energy to hold anger in my heart towards another human. I reckon somehow the part of the prayer which goes, “ . . . forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us . . .” kinda’ is the rutter of the sailboat I float on as I ride the wild waves in the sea called Life.
Yup. I say all that and then at the same time I can honestly say, “I hate.” I loathe and I strongly dislike. I know, what a hypocrite, right?
This week’s scorching temperatures must have caused a synapse in my brain to fire, reminding me of this (really) unjustified hatred. Oh my friends, believe me when I say it’s been a long, long held hatred.
I can still remember, and as Shakespeare once wrote, I rue the day the spark of hate was kindled in my heart.
. . . It was a hot, hot summer day much like we have experienced recently. It was either 1967 or 1968 (and I’m leaning towards ‘68) and we Rushlings — myself and younger sisters Barbie and Patty — were spending time in the northwest Detroit neighborhood called Brightmoor. On the southside of Fenkell (5 Mile Road) on Bentler lived my mom’s family. Grandma and Grandpa, a couple of uncles and a couple of aunts lived together and were often a place we kids stayed when Mom and Dad worked.
We kids knew the neighbors and we knew the layout of the neighborhood. We knew what store to go to to purchase cigarettes for Grandma. At five years old, I just needed a note from Grandma to the little grocery store owner, Mr. Poole. “Please sell Donald Patrick a pack of (I can’t remember her brand of cigs). Thank you. Nanny.”
That was a couple blocks west of Bentler on Fenkell. To the east of Bentler, and across the street on the south was the Irving Theater. Our aunts took us to see Disney movies like Herbie the Love Bug, and Elvis Presley movies like Girls, Girls, Girls! there. (On a side note, in later years as the neighborhood disintegrated and more families moved away, the Irving just showed X-rated movies.) And, across the street and a little east of the Irving, was an ice cream parlor.
Where was I? Oh, yes . . . it was a hot, hot summer day in Brightmoor. I’m pretty sure the Rush kids had spent the entire day playing in the dirt in the back yard and running around like Tasmanian devils. It would be a safe bet that our faces and hands were dirty except where the water from getting drinks out of the garden hose cleaned.
On this one particular day . . . a day which will live in infamy in my heart . . . we kids were given a nice surprise. Grandma had given Aunt Janice and her brother Uncle Jerry, a few dollars to walk us kids down to the ice cream parlor. And, jubilation filled our hearts. Well, at least my heart was full of happiness and optimism over just the idea of getting “an ice cream.”
Hot, sweaty and dirty we skipped and jumped and ran and barely walked to the place that served up frosty, cold goodness. What a great way to end the day!
For some reason the word “giddy” just popped into my head as I remembered everything leading up to the event which would change my life forever. Each of us kids got a small cone filled with soft, vanilla ice cream. I remember the sidewalks we walked on, heading back to the grandparents’ home. I remember seeing ice cream melting and dripping down the cone and onto my dirty left hand. I remember licking the ice cream and I can see in super slow motion the fast getting squishy cone give way and my ice cream falling to the dirty, dirty Detroit sidewalk.
Yeah, I know. I was five and shoulda’ known better and was old enough that I shouldn’t have cried. But, I did. We finished the walk back to Grandma and Grandpa’s, everyone enjoying their treats except me. Money was tight back then and, well, needless to say I got no more ice cream. It was a sad day in Mudville for Young Master Rush.
And, I’ve been angry ever since. I have never forgiven and hate those light, thin, orange-ish colored ice cream cones.
Hate ‘em!
From that day til this, I order my ice cream in a bowl, unrepentant, spiteful and holding on to my grudge just because I can.
(Wew! Glad I got that off my chest. Enjoy your week.)
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