An email from Joyce popped up on my computer screen. As she respects my workday, I supposed the subject important.

“Would you have a few minutes available for a short conversation this evening? I want to ask you about the Cook farm dairy,” she wrote.

Well, Joyce knows how to hook her reader. She also knows Cook’s produces my special order lavender lemon honey ice cream. But she didn’t know my favorite Cook’s Farm Dairy flavor is Cow Pie-dark chocolate, caramel, cashews.

A Rochester Hills resident, Joyce got wind of a restoration project underway on the historic dairy barn of the Rochester Hills Museum at the Van Hoosen Farm. She’d been foraging abandoned farms for the hollow, square brown-glazed clay Natco tiles to complete accurate preservation of the Van Hoosen barn.

Beware. Once Joyce scents a challenge, she won’t stop until she wipes the manure off her hands in utter delight (pun intended).

“I’d be happy to call Cook’s in the morning,” I said. “I’ve not talked with Tom the ice cream maker for months. Raised on a Michigan dairy farm, he might have a lead.”

Mind, ice cream of one flavor or form ranks number one in my culinary comforts. Mom served vanilla ice cream with her fruit pies of the season. Come summer, she made pineapple or banana ice cream. On special occasions, we walked into Sander’s for a hot fudge sundae.

“There’s an old farm at the Coats and Oakwood crossroads,” Tom said the following morning. “There’s another farm in the area, but I can’t remember the exact location. I’ll call you if I do.”

“How was Cook’s season this year?” I asked.

“The best ever. People came as far as 100 miles.”

“Did you have some media interest?”

“Sure did. We had to decline the last reporter because we couldn’t keep up with the demand,” Tom said.

I called Joyce with Tom’s reference and returned to my novella in progress. The following afternoon, she drove into my driveway.

“I left you two voicemails,” she said. “I hope I’m not intruding.” She carried a small cooler by the strap.

While we emptied a pot of Asam lavender tea, in fits of elated revelations Joyce said, “Here’s the most remarkable thing. It wasn’t the Coats and Oakwood farm where I got the lead for the tile. It was the other farm I happened to pass by. The farmer said he grew up on the Van Hoosen Farm! His parents managed their chicken and turkey production.”

“Well, what did he say about the Natco tiles?”

She smiled like a child at Christmas. Ceremoniously, she hauled her rescued treasure into the kitchen. “We’re looking for something similar to this!” Then she unzipped the cooler. My goodness! She removed a carton of Cow Pie ice cream.

“For your contribution to the barn project,” she said.

Dear Reader, I scooped dark chocolate ice cream with caramel and cashews into two bowls.

Oh, the blessed comfort of companionship and Cow Pie ice cream.

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