The hardest part of moving far away from the place you grew up is how unfamiliar things can seem. Why do they call my "grinder" a "sub"? What do you mean there is no Publix Grocery Store here? Where is my Peppermint Stick Ice Cream?

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Having left New England for Nashville, Tennessee, I was hit hard by culture shock.  One of the biggest problems I had occurred every holiday season.  Growing up, there was no better ice cream treat to me than Friendly's Peppermint Stick Ice Cream. My mother would buy it every year and though i was a hardcore vanilla fanatic, somehow, I allowed this seasonal breach of protocol to fill my bowl. Unfortunately for me, there was no Friendly's in Nashville, and it was not stocked on grocery store shelves (like the aforementioned Publix).

For many years I went without. If I found myself in an area of a Friendly's as I crisscrossed the country, I would always make a point to stop for a Fribble in my travels. This was always a temporary fix, but the hunger grew.

Having accepted a position here in Central New York, I began to search for the things I loved about the northeast to see what was still around. My smile widened as I read there was a Friendly's nearby and then the hope began that I may not spend another yuletide without my favorite creamy mint delight.

Not long into November, I ventured out to New Hartford. When I arrived, I beelined for the Ice Cream case.  And there it was.

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The carton looked different, but the spirit remained.  When I got to the car, i couldn't wait to dig in. The taste sensation took me to a place that felt instantly recognizable and cozy. After many years, i finally felt that I was home for the holidays.

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