“33 Flavors,” Baskin-Robbins used to advertise, and I probably liked them all. Years ago, ice cream came in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Now it comes not only in multitudinous flavors, but in low and no (as well as high?) fat varieties, frozen yogurt, ice milk, and other variations. When people are put together for any long, intense period of time, you begin to note how many variations there are in us.
When many varieties of ice cream first became available, Jan and I splurged one time by each ordering a concoction. The location was Mackinaw City as we viewed the great bridge over the Straits of Mackinac. We were celebrating our safe landing after being caught in the middle of that five miles long bridge in a windstorm and watching a camper blow off a truck onto the roadway ahead of us. The fear of having our 1960 Falcon take flight off that bridge might be supposed to remove appetites, but we were on our honeymoon, so we were believers in letting our appetites expand.
In our celebration we each ordered about seven scoops of different flavors of ice cream. (They were small scoops.) They came with names like Bat Girl (licorice), Fudge Brownie, Candy Stripers (peppermint), and Black Walnut. I just remember the appearance of the bowl as they began to melt together–black, green, red, and yellow mixing. I ate mine and Jan handed hers to me to finish, after it had begun to turn into one blended shade of brownish-grayish.
Then and there I had a revelation. The melting pot was an inadequate image for people getting along together. One has to recognize and accept the differences—the different flavors—in order to enjoy being together. (Revelations after all are hard to come by.) Trying to force everyone into one “mold” is likely to produce something that looks a bit moldy. We try to remember that when we live and work intensely together. The flavors are all there to be enjoyed. Attempts to put everything together all at once may put a strain even on great lovers (of ice cream). Everything works out in due time, with patience and flexibility and fixed purpose.