I remember the first banana split I had, it was like a spiritual awakening, for some reason or another grandmother and I were in a store something like a five and dime that had a kind of soda/ lunch counter.
All the stools were empty and as I wandered by I noticed a poster featuring a banana split, I thought it was magnificent, other worldly, as I stood gazing raptly at it while attempting to be inconspicuous, the waitress following my gaze said it looked pretty good didn’t it and asked if I wanted one?
Not knowing what else to say I asked her what it was? I’m not sure if she was stunned or thought I was putting her on but she said “it’s a banana split, don’t tell me you never had one”.
I confessed I had not and she asked again if I wanted one?
Feeling cornered and a little embarrassed I asked how much they were and she replied how much did I have?
Rooting around in my pockets I came up with twenty some cents, showed her and she said I was in luck, there was a banana split special that very day and I had the exact amount.
My excitement cup overflowed at the sheer blind luck of it.
Even better when grandmother came looking for me and sat down beside me as I offered to share with her and the waitress said she had made a mistake and I had actually paid for two.
Grandmother looked at me for verification and assuming the waitress knew better than I did I nodded my head in assent – hey, I was seven or eight years old how could I have known whether I had overpaid or not? Besides, respecting my elders was something I had been taught……anyway that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I thought Grandmother once having dived into hers might swoon on that very spot, later in a nonchalant offhanded sort of way grandmother allowed that it was something of a marvel that I knew she would be joining me and had already paid for hers – I just kinda smiled and nodded my head once again in assent.
Years later in another state, another city, Seattle, when I was about seventeen or eighteen that very woman stopped me on the street and asked me if I’d ever had a banana split?
She looked familiar to me as we drew near to one another but the minute she said banana split the light went on and I recognized her – I told her it was my turn to buy but she said she was watching her weight and would settle for a cup of coffee though with a twinkle in her eye she couldn’t say if a special was being run on a cup or not.
So we sat on the pier by the Pike Street Market drinking coffee and talked for a couple of hours or more.
Never forgotten her or that banana split, her name was Oleta.
It may appear as though I’ve been kind of rambling on, and maybe there’s a truth to that but a comment made by Rebel Girl in a previous blog A Child of the Nations and the Age of Enlightenment about small gestures set me to reminiscing.
Little gestures and paying it forward, it doesn’t get any better than that.