“I’ve probably been going to Baskin Robbins [for] 35 years. For a while I didn’t go because I went about a year with no taste buds. I also had difficulty swallowing because of the kind of cancer I had. I stumbled onto this [location] about a year ago. I was trying to gain some weight back, because the [doctors] were on my backside about gaining weight. I had been on supplements, [and] I had a feeding tube because I couldn’t eat that well. The problem with supplements is it’s all liquid, you don’t taste anything, and you have to ingest a lot of water with it. There are a lot of other problems that come with it. Once I got my tastebuds back, about a year ago I decided it’s time to eat. I figured, I can swallow these [supplements] of 500 calories a piece or I can just go out and get milkshakes. I like milkshakes, they help quite a bit.”
“For a long time I couldn’t swallow, I had to go through rehab. I had physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. I had cancer in the tongue, mouth and throat. I had to drink and learn to shallow again, the muscles in my throat were damaged by radiation therapy. I had to go through a lot of basic stuff, and I had to have my teeth yanked out before they would even start [rehab]. I had a dentist that didn’t give me teeth that fit real well. He and I are still on an ongoing contest of wills about that.”
“My father was a World War II vet. Like many fathers at the time they were perceived as pretty hard-nosed people. If you’re not in that environment it’s pretty hard to understand that. He had some pretty rigid standards. He was pretty tough about some things. When you get to be 12 or 13 you begin to resent that. You just want to do your own thing. But when I graduated boot camp, my dad came and he was really proud of me. I remember at that point I understood him. I had gone through something that made me understand where he was coming from. After that we got along great for the rest of his life. We understood each other.”


art by Ava Hughes

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