Whenever I get together with my Dads4Kesem brothers, our conversations always drift back to our hike across England. After a hug and pleasantries, the events that happened are discussed as though we’ve never told them before. These discussions recently took place at Dad 2.0, a conference for dad bloggers and will continue at future conferences.
One of my favorite stories to bring up occurred after a couple days of long, grueling hikes through mud and sheep poop. The 12 of us got along fantastically and, when we grumbled, was mostly through jokes. Mostly. Each person had moments where we wanted to trek alone. Either it was for self-reflection or because after being with 12 guys 24 hours a day, we needed a break. On this day, everybody seemed to want to be alone. It appeared we ran out of things to talk about and were exhausted. After stepping on blistered feet for hours, we stopped at picnic tables stationed along the side of the road. There didn’t seem to be a reason at all for them being there. It was as if a dad blogger fairy arrived minutes before we turned the curve and planted tables for us. As we regularly did during pauses, we slipped off our boots and felt the cool wet grass on our feet. Conversations started as we ate our snacks. I was still in a grumpy mood and stared straight ahead and was thinking we should keep walking and spend our break inside a pub.
While ripping into my granola bar, I saw a white truck driving up the road. I squinted and couldn’t believe my eyes. An ice cream truck was cruising along the English countryside. Feeling cynical, I thought to myself, “no way that truck will stop here.” Then the truck slowed down. A child inside me started screaming like Eddy Murphy’s Ice Cream stand-up bit. I scooted to the edge of the table as did all 11 guys as we watched the truck come to a halt. All of us quickly stuck their hands into backpacks and pulled out money. I frantically dug around for loose pounds. We didn’t need to walk. It was as though we traveled on a conveyer belt hiding beneath the grass, tugging us towards the ice cream truck. In that moment, we were not 12 men, but 7-year-old children on a hot summer’s day with a pocket full of money anxiously waiting to talk to the ice cream man.
We bought our ice cream cones and walked back to the table. Joyful conversations returned and after we finished our ice cream, put our shoes back on and returned to the hike. Our spirits lifted, and we were back to joking about sheep and having deep conversations.
Whenever I look back at the trip, this day stands out. 12 tired and sore men brought to childish joy by an ice cream truck. We continued to have moments of tiredness and some moments of grumpiness, but were mostly joyful. I would hike another 100 miles with those 11 guys any day. And there would be room in my budget for ice cream.
Here are some other #Dads4Kesem posts:
The Hadrian’s Wall Walk, by Dadcation
An Announcement, A Toast, Preparing to Walk, by Designer Daddy
Thank You for the Kesem Love, by me.