It’s not every day that an individual catches my eye like Troy did, when I first saw him kneeling down to see eye to eye with the most angelic young girl that I had ever seen, at a local ice creamery.
Interacting at a physical distance yet engaging with one another, Troy and Hope, the dark-skinned, olive-eyed child, spoke through their respective facial coverings about how now is not a good time to easily eat an ice cream cone. My goodness, how awkward and icky it is bound to be if, between each lick, one must cover her mouth with the mask.
Troy, a tall, broad-shouldered, dark haired fella, and Hope brainstormed possible workarounds of she how could still enjoy a Summer creamery treat and follow the public safety rules. While standing in line at a safe distance, I could not help but notice how attentive Troy was to Hope’s conundrum. He earnestly wanted to help her yet, at the same time, obey the creamery’s rules.
You see, Troy was the owner of the creamery and a longtime neighbor to those visiting the friendly establishment, this one warm Summer evening.
As Hope inched her way up to the front of the line, physical distancing along the way, Troy casually strolled by each table, welcoming each guest, offering words of encouragement and positivity to each one. There was just something magnetic about Troy, an energetic aura, of sorts. He smiled easily, with ever so slight laugh lines around his well-curved mouth. His eyes were the deepest chocolate brown I’d ever caught a glimpse of. I knew I must meet him, to know him and, most importantly, for him to know me.
And, I knew that would happen, but not until I stood quietly by and drank him in, observing his obvious joy in the community flavor he created inside the creamery.
Had Hope solved her ice cream mask dilemma? Had she found a way to consume her favorite frozen treat? There was Troy chuckling when he served her a rainbow sherbet milk shake with an extra long straw to circumvent the mask she dutifully and proudly wore. His deep laughter had a familiar tone to it. Where had I heard this voice before? It struck a nerve. Where?
In due time, I stepped into the order line and felt my heart fluttering a bit as I stepped closer to Troy, while he continued to serve his community friends.
Oh my, I was the next person in line. What would I say to this handsome, most intriguing gentleman? How could I engage him in conversation beyond a butter pecan ice cream cup? Was he wearing a wedding band?
“What may I serve you”, Troy asked, as I stood nearly in front of him now. In my mind, I longed to say “you”, but settled on my favorite butter pecan cup order. Then, at that moment, our eyes locked. The rockets of desire were launched. My heart skipped and I swear there was a drumstick in my belly beating to come out. I managed to smile slightly, pay for my ice cream cup and thank the most kind gentleman named Troy.
A nearby table opened up that I slid into as I savored my treat, all the while keeping an undetected eye on Troy, now that he had handed over serving duties to one of his team members. When it registered with me that he was walking over to my table, I prepared to be charmed. And, charmed I was.
In the friendly manner which I had noticed earlier, Troy paused at my place and asked about my just purchased ice cream. In my most unique assertive yet coy response, I responded that he had done an excellent job at the ice cream making, with an added wink.
When I invited Troy to sit down across the table from me, I was most surprised that he accepted. The question: what am I going to ‘do’ with this moment beamed through my brain.
Being the curious woman that I am, I asked Troy how he came to own an ice creamery. The story Troy shared with me was as heartwarming as I hoped it would be. But then, I would not have expected any less.
The shop ownership was borne from tragedy. Years ago, in his role as President of the local Chamber of Commerce, which was located two doors down from the ice creamery, Troy often stopped in to not only indulge in a cup of ice cream but also to periodically pick up a cone for his daughter, Faith, who suffered from a debilitating birth defect that left her unable to walk. She loved the treasures of the local ice cream shoppe.
As Troy told it, despite the best medical care, doctors and treatments, Faith’s condition worsened and she eventually passed. Troy grieved his only daughter and contemplated how he could keep her memory alive. Then, the concept came to him in an early morning divine download. He knew it would mean so much to Faith to have her Dad buy the shop and make other young people happy as it made her happy.
While Troy had not considered an entrepreneurial venture, he had invested years of his career in public positions and his term as Chamber president was drawing to a close. In the years since Troy bought the ice creamery, fitfully named Faith’s Frozen Treats, he allocated a sizable portion of the profits to local children’s charities that could one day spare children whom suffered from conditions similar to that of his daughter, Faith.
My highly-tuned intuition glimmered as I listened to his story. The moment I saw Troy Parker, I knew there was something very special about him. I felt his heart-centered warmth in his expressive dark eyes and engaging smile.
Despite the dreadfulness of this Covid 19 era, I am so grateful to have met Troy. The experience of connecting with the goodness of this servant-hearted man, devoted father, community leader and philanthropist uplifted and inspired me to sow seeds of love and goodness, wherever possible, particularly in these most unusual times.