Did the soldier really want the strange combination of cherries and strawberry topping piled atop dark fudge on his ice cream sundae? Or was it the distracting waitress who sparked the idea for this strange combination?
It was May 1943, during World War II, and this is exactly what Sgt. Lowden (Lo) Hollis, a country lad from Georgia, wanted at the hospital post exchange at the U.S. Army base in Fort Meade, Md. Even in hospital clothes, he was still brutally handsome; he was tall, had a mustache and was a dead ringer for heartthrob Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind. Nearly everybody thought so.
As I gripped the counter, white-knuckled, my heart beating rapidly, I saw he had no ring on his finger. And he was looking at me!
His buddy had to order the chocolate concoction for him. The movie star look-alike had just undergone surgery to remove a growth in his throat and was under doctor's orders not to speak. I smiled, big and emphatic, with my lips and my eyes. I gently moved the sundae toward this handsome fellow with the flesh-scorching gaze and fiery brown eyes.
Suddenly, a message came blaring over the loudspeaker: "Sales of ice cream are suspended; herds of dairy cows have strayed into wild onion and garlic fields … our supply of milk has been tainted … we apologize …"
I thanked my lucky stars for that last sale before shutdown.
Which appetite did this soldier need satisfied? One that sated his stomach, or one that filled his heart? He has told me since, "I didn't taste any onion or garlic that day. I was too busy watching you!"
And we watched over each other for the next 57 years … as Mr. and Mrs.
Faynetta Rose Hollis is a reader from Franklin, Ind.