While we were in Texas with Kathyâ€™s relatives, we were careful to observe all the Traditions. We spent time each day at the pool, and covered dozens of miles in golf cart rides. We ate large quantities of Mexican food, or at least American food made up to look Mexican. We played games and read books and even made a pilgrimage to Alamo Village.
Kathy’s brother and his children were often to be found behind the wheel of a golf cart.
And then there was Picoâ€™s. An otherwise unremarkable gas station chain, Picoâ€™s has the rare distinction to offer the worldâ€™s largest (at least in my experience) â€˜Single Scoop Ice Creamâ€™ for $1.19.
Pico’s. Now the secret is out.
You wouldnâ€™t believe me if I told you, so Iâ€™ll have to provide a picture; each â€˜Single Scoopâ€™ is really a compacted mass of ice cream requiring more than a dozen individual scoops on the part of the server.
Sarah already ate quite a bit off the top.
Kathyâ€™s Dad and I are not very alike (heâ€™s well-educated, urbane and handy, while I am, er, not) but we share at least one passion: neither of us can pass up a bargain. For this reason, as the last dishes were washed after dinner each evening, a quiet refrain would begin to buzz on the lips of the children:
â€œPicoâ€™s. Picoâ€™s. Picoâ€™s.â€
Clearly, I was standing in a low spot in the parking lot, which allowed Kathy’s brother, her Dad, and my own son to tower over me.
Grand-Dad would look up from his book with a twinkle in his eye. â€œDid someone say â€˜Picoâ€™sâ€™?â€
I would wander in from the porch, licking my lips. â€œDid someone say, â€˜Picoâ€™sâ€™?â€
And so we would drive the mile or so into â€˜townâ€™ and pile out of our minivans to stand in front of the ice cream case.
â€œWhat are your flavors today,â€ weâ€™d ask. â€œWeâ€™ll need eleven, no, twelve â€˜Single Scoopsâ€™,â€ we would confide to the server.
“Rosalita,” the girl at the cash register would yell, “you come serve these customers while I check the stock-room.” Rosalita had a strong arm from all that scooping.
Mint Chocolate Chip and Banana Split were two of the favorites, although Butter Pecan and Rocky Road were well-favored as well. One night (gasp!) they had nothing but Vanilla, and we all suffered with home-made brownies.
Everybody got Mint Chocolate Chip that day … everyone, except me, that is.
We had a great time with Kathyâ€™s brother, his children, and Kathyâ€™s parents; but when the stories are told about this vacation, Iâ€™ll bet Picoâ€™s will have a prominent place.
These girls were later arrested for loitering, which really livened up the worship service.
Yesterday I attended a follow-up visit with my physician, to discuss the results of my recent physical and lab testing. Now that Iâ€™m firmly in my 40â€™s, I have begun to hesitantly grapple with the idea that I might not be immortal and invulnerable, no matter how many times I watched Stallone or Schwarzenegger movies as a young man.
I told my doctor about Picoâ€™s, my eyes sparkling as a reminiscent smile wreathed my face. â€œI figure I gained a few pounds,â€ I chortled unrepentantly. (People with a double chin have an advantage when it comes to chortling, and I made the best of that competitive edge.)
â€œYep. Looks like you’re up six pounds since I saw you last, less than two months ago.â€ My doctor didnâ€™t seem to think it was quite so funny.
I mentally reviewed my options:
- Find a fat doctor
- Never get another physical for the rest of my (probably short) life
- Break into my doctorâ€™s office (each time I have an appointment) and inflate the previous visitâ€™s weight, so it always looks like Iâ€™m losing.
- Investigate my doctor for some vice and ruthlessly blackmail him into silence
- Attempt to intimidate my physician so that heâ€™s afraid to bring up the subject of weight
- Change my lifestyle and lose some weight
Doctorâ€™s donâ€™t tend to be fat. Oh, youâ€™ll find a plump one from time to time, but Iâ€™ve been cursed with skinny ones the last 10 years or so. They have to learn to live without food or sleep during their time as an intern and resident, and the habits tend to stick, from what I can tell.
Not my actual doctor.
My doctor doesnâ€™t seem to be the kind I could easily intimidate, and Iâ€™m not sure he has any easily exploitable vices. Kathy wonâ€™t let me avoid annual physicals, and I think it is too late to build my marriage on a pattern of lies, having been pretty forthright up to this point.
The possibilities having narrowed, my course is clear: I must find a way to falsify my weight records each time I visit. On the way out, I carefully cased the office for windows wide enough to allow ingress. It would be poetically embarrassing if I became wedged in a window while engaged in this enterprise.
In the unlikely event that this crafty scheme fails me, and just to give our readers something on which to comment, Iâ€™ll throw out this question:
What is the single best lifestyle change you have made to lose weight?
Maybe I’ll do some sit-ups while I wait for your answers.