I’ve spent the past four days dreaming of my free Rita’s Italian Ice on the first day of spring. It’s a tradition for Rita’s to offer free ices on the first day of spring and I’ve been going since college. When I was at Douglass my girlfriends and I piled into a car for the short drive down Ryder’s Lane. We’d wait on the line and shoot the breeze, enjoying the beautiful weather. Then we’d sit at the picnic tables overlooking Ryders Lane and eat our Italian ice, sampling the flavors everyone got.
After that, Chris and I used to go after he got out of work. We’d head to the closest Rita’s when he lived in his apartment after graduation and there was rarely a line. It was glorious!
Then when I started working in Manalapan my friends and I would head to Rita’s immediately after school on the first day of spring. We’d wait on line, usually behind some of our current or former students, and we’d eat our ices in the parking lot. We’d decompress from the day at school and start counting down the days until summer vacation.
Now we all work at different schools. Chris and I are on opposite sides of the state during the day and while there is a Rita’s near his office there isn’t one within 15 miles of my school. Chris sent me a picture of the Key Lime Italian ice he enjoyed during his lunch and I waited patiently to get mine after school. What flavor would I get? Lemon? Mango? Maybe pay a dollar for the dollop of soft serve on top?
I came home from school and took the dogs for a quick walk. Then I got them into the car, figuring the outing would be good for them, and headed to the nearest Rita’s. The parking lot was a bit of mess but from my vantage point the line didn’t look bad. I’d probably have to wait a few minutes but I had time.
Then I walked around the other side of the building and saw the real line. It looked something like this:
It had to be an hour long. And I didn’t have the patience for that. Neither did the dogs that I had foolishly brought with me for the supposedly short trip.
I went home sad and still craving Italian ice. Dinner came and went and couldn’t stop thinking about the water ice I missed out on. I’d been waiting for it all week.
That’s when I decided I was going to get that water ice and I wasn’t going to wait on any lines. Chris and I hopped in the car and made our way to Ralph’s Italian Ice, a local staple that I prefer over Rita’s. Sure, it cost me $3 for my chocolate mousse creme ice but that was a lot cheaper than my time!