Ice Cold Milk and Doughnuts by Nate Riggs

One of the things I’ve always remembered from when I was a little boy was the exceptional taste of my dad’s special ice cold milk. It was a delicacy only appropriate to consume during the bi-monthly weekend trips to his condo in Columbus.

Like a lot of the millennial generation, my parents split when I was still in grade school. My brother and I adjusted and we became used to the routine of every-other-weekend trips down 71 south to see Dad and my stepmom Barb. We always looked forward to those visits — especially to our arrival Friday on night.

Ice Cold Milk

On Friday nights, we would typically land at my Dad’s condo after two hours of driving. We always stayed up to the late hours of the night (something we weren’t allowed to do at moms) to catch the classic antics of Johnny Carson in the latest live broadcast of the the Tonight Show.

At what always seemed to be the first commercial break, dad would turn to my brother and I and in his low and soft voice, utter the words:

“Would you boys like to have some ice cold milk?”

We’d furiously nod, knowing that one of the moments we’d been waiting for since our van pulled into the condo complex had arrived!

Dad would rock out of his armchair and lumber across the floor of the condo to the small kitchen with my brother and I in close tow. From the freezer he would retrieve three thick glass beer mugs from where he had stashed them hours before so that they would be completely covered in a dense frost.

From the fridge he would pull a fresh gallon of creamy 2% milk and evenly poor each of our glasses full. I can remember being fascinated at how the slight splashes of milk that fell across the rim of the glass would instantly freeze into a creamy frosting.

We’d often accompany this special milk with the addition of Hostess Fudge Rounds, just to create the need to wash something down. Somewhere in years later, out tradition evolved to include a few squirts of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup, making the whole experience even that more rich and memorable.

Memorable Dad Traditions

Ice cold milk was much more than junk food and late night television.

For my brother and I, and I think my dad as well, this was an almost scared tradition and so important to forming the substance of our relationships.

Our routine, as well as our enjoyment in the process gave us all something to look forward to each time we were together. This tradition was the crimsoning of our weekends together. It didn’t take much. Being recently divorced, Dad didn’t have much expendable money at the time. I never really understood the impact of that until I went through my own divorce a few years back.

Still, Dad made up for his lack of dollars through exceptional effort, creativity and by instilling a sense of importance and excitement that I think only a father can instill in their sons. By placing so much importance in this tradition, he created an experience for us — one that my I’ve remembered and treasured for over 25 years now.

What Are Your Doughnuts?

doughnutsMy life centers around my blended family and I like it that way. My two boys, Kaden and Jacob (six weeks apart and of no genetic relation) and I make a point to get doughnuts once a week.

When I walk into the room, albeit a bit earlier than other days of the week, and intensely whisper: “Would you guys like to get doughnuts?” they spring from their beds and are instantly awake.

We make our way our very favorite doughnut store (the local Tim Horton’s) where some of the staff knows us by name. The boys take pleasure in inspecting and then selecting the best seat for the day. They do good due diligence and we rarely sit in the same place.

My role is to order two vanilla dips with sprinkles, chocolate milks and a cup of coffee for my own consumption. We laugh, take pictures and talk with other patrons as we eat our special treats. Our tradition concludes with two drops at separate preschools and finally my office.

This is our tradition and while simple in nature, it’s hard to express how important it is to my boys and I. I hope that someday as adults, our doughnut store trips stay forever embedded in their memories, even after I’m old and eventually gone.

What are your doughnuts?

Nate Riggs works mid-sized and large companies on social business design and social media marketing, so that they can better communicate with their customers and employees. Nate is also a nationally recognized thought leader and speaker on social business, content marketing and balancing entrepreneurship and family life. He is a blended family dad who enjoys spending time with his kids and fiancé, attending live music festivals, photography and distance racing. You can find him online at and talk with him on Twitter by following @nateriggs.


4 thoughts on “Ice Cold Milk and Doughnuts by Nate Riggs

  1. What an amazing post – I have a few “donuts” of my own but you’ve got me thinking about how to really turn them into something meaningful and memorable. This post was a gift and for that I thank you.

  2. Being a father to daughters only we haven’t often found donuts so to speak, but we do have this magic time of communication when it’s just us on a walk or a drive one on one. Most recently my youngest and I took some time to go on two separate hikes on the annual family camping trip, as Mom was busy doing other things and big sister was a late arrival.

    Whether a walk, a hike, or a drive I treasure this time with my girls as we share stories, or talk about what’s going on in their lives. As they get older the rides and hikes grow fewer and far between so I always take some time to recognize and be grateful for those moments, and hope that we can continue our non-traditional tradition for years to come.

    Great post Nate. Thanks for sharing and for making me treasure those moments even more.

    • Thanks Jimmer. I think you bring up a good point in that spending solo time with each one of your kids is so critically important. Jacob and I often go and kick the soccer ball around. He’s playing in a club right now and I’ve played all my life so it’s something we both can enjoy together.

      With Kaden, it’s music. He loves to sing and make up songs and so we often sing together in cars and at bed time.

      I cherish each of those special solo things I get to do with them. 🙂

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