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Neapolitan Ice Cream: A Lesson in Becoming Queen

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Growing up, I never realized just how MANY lessons I was actually given on becoming Queen.  I was being groomed the entire time without ever knowing it.  One of the earliest lessons I can remember was being taught the "politics" on running an empire, satisfying the masses when everyone wants something different.  The way this lesson was taught to me was through the use of Neapolitan Ice Cream...

At the Ponderosa, we LOVE our birthdays, and it is absolutely necessary that the occasion be marked with a family celebration.  Regardless of whatever plans you THINK you may have, it is a guarantee of a birthday cake fresh from the Italian bakery, Ice Cream, and Dinner.  I must have been about six years old, and the Mainor birthday season was in full swing, so that puts us at the middle to end of March, 1990.  Nana and I were in the kitchen, I was keeping her company as she put the finishing touches on one of her culinary delights.  The festivities were planned for later that day, so we were just putting everything together, and starting to set up.  Nana must have been going over her mental checklist for preparation, because suddenly she stopped humming to the music playing on the clock radio, and asked me to check the back freezer door to ensure we had the family birthday staple, Neapolitan Ice Cream.  I jumped down from my perch beside her and scurried to the back room to fulfill the request.  Upon opening the freezer, I saw that there were in fact two brand new containers of ice cream, however, neither was Neapolitan.  I cheerfully reported my findings to my grandmother, because I thought to myself, we have two containers of ice cram as opposed to the one Neapolitan she was looking for, so that's EVEN better!  Yay, the festivities would commence!  My joy was short-lived, I suddenly realized she had stopped stirring the salad.  I looked up at her curiously, not understanding what was wrong.  Two seconds later, my grandfather's name was resounding through 133..."DONALD!!!!" "WHAT??!!" was fired back..."There isn't any Neapolitan Ice Cream for the Cake."  There was no verbal response, just the sound of my grandfather's "hurry shuffle" moving atop the upstairs floorboards.  Moments later, he appeared in the doorway to the front room, reached for his hat, and disappeared into the hallway.  I didn't even have a chance to beg to ride along with him.

I turned to my grandmother and asked, "Nana, where is Pop-Pop going?"  She said, "to get the Neapolitan Ice Cream".   wanting to understand how the mere mention of the absence of the tri-colored ice cream could have moved my grandfather to such swift action, as my grandfather hurried ONLY in extreme situations, I asked her, "how come?"  Nana turned to me and said, "well first of all, you get three separate flavors in one container, each different, yet each complementary to the cake.  Someone may love Vanilla with their cake and loathe strawberry altogether.  Someone else may choose to gross us all out and mix the three together.  Either way, we are prepared.  You gotta have options though, and the RIGHT options; when it comes to ice cream, people deserve the right to choose.  Second, it may be their birthday, but I'm doing it, and I'm doing it my way."

Looking back, this was the first time I realized as Queen, I was going to be required to do things solely for the sake of other people, especially if I wanted to maintain the loyalty of my subjects!  Life was going to be filled with requests from all different directions, and it was going to be my job to appease each one.  At the same time, it showed me that there MUST be enough of myself left when it's all said and done for ME.  Otherwise, my gestures become empty because I begin to resent them, and no longer do them out of love, but mere obligation.  Running an empire is not successfully done if the subjects are all happy, and you are miserable as a monarch because you have compromised yourself away.  It's definitely NOT any man's lot in life to sacrifice yourself to the point of self-destruction.  Your kingdom, Your WAY.  It's for the masses to learn how to survive in your kingdom, not the other way around; you just gotta be smart enough to make them think it was their idea all along!~The Queen


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