He liked it!

A friend of mine who lives in Mountaintop called to say he’d be in Pittston to drop off an electric bass for repair at The Music Scene on North Main Street, and he wanted to know if we could get together for “a milk shake or something.”
“I have something even better,” I said, but the moment I added, “How about a New York egg cream?” I wished I could put those words back in my mouth.
What was I thinking? This is a guy who grew up in Brooklyn and his favorite thing to do is to shoot down things around here that come up short when compared to what he was accustomed to back home. Which is just about everything. “You call this pizza?” “What do you mean spaghetti sauce? Where I come from it’s gravy?” “In line? We stand on line.” Stuff like that.
“You’re telling me you can get a New York egg cream around here?” he asked, and I knew what he was thinking. And it wasn’t good.
But it was too late. I already made the suggestion. So I gave him directions to Ballyhoo, the unique little ice cream parlor on Luzerne Avenue in West Pittston. “At least he’ll like the décor,” I thought, and he did.
We sat on the benches outside and as he took his first sip, I girded myself for the critique.
Which proved unnecessary.
“Wow,” I heard. “This is the real thing!”
Wait. What?
He liked it?
It was one compliment after another right down to the final slurpy sounding sip.
I dashed inside to tell owner Valerie Schultz she had aced a test she didn’t know she was taking.
“That guy out there is a New Yorker,” I squealed. “And he loved your New York egg cream.”
“He should,” she said, not surprised. “Tell him we use U-bet.”
“U-bet,” my friend shouted when I got back outside. “That’s the original. I’m impressed.”
For the record, a New York egg cream contains neither egg nor cream. It’s a beverage made with chocolate syrup (U-bet brand, if you can get it), milk and soda water. I love them.
I told my friend how delighted I was that he liked it.
His answer?
“But your pizza … “

Ed Ackerman