Thirty-five years ago, a seventeen-year-old boy from Pittsburgh spent his summer scooping ice cream for tourists at Glacier National Park. On an ordinary day, an adorable little seven-year-old girl from Memphis came in to the sweet shop with her family. She wearing a pink sundress and a button that said, “Hi, I’m Alice!” The boy flirted with her in the usual way you innocently flirt with little children, gave her an extra scoop of peppermint stick ice cream, and sent her and her family on their way.
Ten years later in another part of the country, by sheer happenstance (if there is such a thing) a girl fell in love with a boy ten years her senior, and he fell madly in love with her. They were married for a couple of years when, while going through her old family photo albums, they stumbled across a picture of six-year-old Alice in a sweet shop at Glacier National Park with her family. She was reaching for an ice cream cone handed to her across the counter by the very man who now sat beside her on the couch.
The sweet shop boy has been married to Alice for two-and-a-half decades now. There was nothing about that day when she was a child to indicate that the boy scooping her ice cream was her husband, unknowingly waiting for her to grow up. When Alice left the shop with her family that day, she forgot about him, and he about her. They were just strangers whose paths crossed for three minutes one summer and then parted again, presumably for ever. Even when they were married, he’d never realized that Alice with the peppermint stick ice cream was Alice his wife. And she’d never known that her husband was the sweet shop boy, until they found that old photo.
Be careful about discounting the seemingly unimportant moments in life and about wholly regretting the bad. There are a thousand million intricacies to life. The happiness of meeting the love of your life may be indebted to such a small moment as getting peppermint stick ice cream on summer vacation when you were seven years old.