We all scream for ice cream

Published 2:17 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

“Get us a big bucket of strawberry ice cream,” my husband called as I raced out the door with my car keys in my hand. I hadn’t bothered to write down what we needed from the grocery store. Even as he spoke, I was mentally running down the list … milk, bread, sandwich meat, eggs and two or three other things. I figured I’d forget something, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be ice cream. Can you think of anything more refreshing than an ice cream treat on these hot, humid August days?

It’s all I can do to drive by Dairy Queen on such a day without yielding to temptation. Suddenly about a block or two away, I get an overpowering longing for a milk shake. Chocolate’s my favorite, but I wouldn’t turn down vanilla or strawberry, either. (If I buy the large size, I can always store some of it in the freezer and eat it with a spoon later.) Or what about one of those cones of vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate? Or a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top with the chocolate oozing down the side? Or … well, you get the picture. All are delights.

Years ago on a drowsy summer day, I was alone at home when I heard music. I drew a curtain back and saw a truck moving slowly down the road. The vehicle was plastered with pictures of ice cream and other frozen treats. By the time I found my purse, it had passed our house. There was no outlet in that direction, so I sat down on the front steps and awaited the truck’s return. Pretty soon, I heard the music blaring and ran to the road to flag the truck down. I knew that “ice cream man.” While I made my selection, he told me he took the ice cream truck route to keep busy after retirement. A big smile spread across his face. “To tell you the truth,” he said, “It’s so much fun and I enjoy it so much, I kind of hate to take my pay.”

When my mother managed a store in the 1940s, the only ice cream she sold came in large containers. The choice was simple. She would dip you vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. Have you noticed the variety of choices at your favorite ice cream store? What about the grocery store showcases? There are all kinds of combinations and too many flavors to name.

One of my favorite frozen treats is an ice cream sandwich. Vendors began selling them on New York streets in the late 1890s. I’ve read that somebody thought of making popsicles when a child left a stick in some juice on a windowsill one winter day and it froze.

I returned home with the strawberry ice cream as my husband requested. Now, as I wind up this column, it’s really hot outside … I’ll meet you at the Dairy Queen.