On another venture out of seclusion, I go in search of an ice cream cone. I don’t have to go far before I see a tiny pink building with BJ’s Ice Cream on it. I pull in, and a man appearing to be the owner, pops up from the single table in the place, occupied by what appears to be two of his friends, and welcomes me warmly.
“See anything that looks good?” he asks, “Need a taste of anything, let me know!”
“I see something I know will be good,” I answer, and I don’t need a taste, I’ll have a junior cone with cappuccino fudge.”
He starts to very carefully scoop the ice cream, it’s obvious he’s in no rush, and neither am I, for once in my life.
“Where you from?” he asks.
“Portland,” I reply.
“Oh, then no need to show a passport,” he jokes.
I ask him if he’s from around here, and he says he’s from Lexington, Kentucky. I learn he moved to Oregon when his wife had a job in Eugene. I tell him I used to live in Eugene, too. Turns out we lived very near each other, at the very same time.
“My wife was from England, loved to come to the Oregon Coast, reminded her of the weather in England. When she died, I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, so I bought this little place and named it after her.”
“BJ?” I ask.
“No, BJ is the type of ice cream we sell, see the little sign next to it, the one that says ‘Shelia’s?’”
“Oh, yes, I see it,” I say.
“Gonna get a bigger sign made, “ he assures me, and I nod indicating my full support.
With each careful scoop of the ice cream scooper, the man honors a woman from England named Shelia. A woman he loved and lost. A woman who loved the Oregon Coast because it made her feel at home, and now this man makes others feel that way.