Ice cream, memories of ol’ summertime

Published 1:01 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

As I scooped a helping of ice cream in a favorite bowl for an afternoon snack, it brought a smile to my face. I enjoy my combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream dipped with a small spoon. It lasts longer that way. My husband, on the other hand, preferred to lick ice cream cones down to a fine point.

When we first married, we had no transportation. We relied on public transportation or our two feet. We sometimes spent Sunday afternoons window shopping several blocks from our apartment. We often stopped at a shop for ice cream to enjoy on our walk back home. I was shocked the first time I saw him licking an ice cream cone as he twirled it round and round. He laughed at me, saying I missed half the fun of eating ice cream if I didn’t lick the cone. We never convinced each other my way or his way was the right way. We did agree that ice cream filled the bill as a summertime wonder.

As I reminisced over the difference in the way we enjoyed our ice cream, I reflected on what a joy it was to anticipate a cone or cup of ice cream as a child. I remember rushing in from school on a hot day to the store my parents managed, ready for my snack. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream were the choices. It was so hard to decide. Whichever one or combination I chose, it was hard to wait while Mother dipped the scoop in a jar of water and then pulled it across the container to bring out a perfectly rounded ball and placed it on a cone. That first taste, or in my beloved’s eyes, first lick, was glorious.

Other summertime delights were times when a group of youngsters gathered in someone’s yard to cool off with spray from a garden hose. There always had to be one mischievous person in the bunch who twisted the nozzle ever so slightly to sting our skin with the increased water pressure.

Remember the scent of honeysuckle on a summer evening when you and your playmates chased each other chanting, “There ain’t no bogeyman out tonight…” or catching lightning bugs and placing them in a jar with a few holes punched in the top to give them air? Maybe you slept with the jar at your bedside that night.

Those were the days when we slept with windows open. Were you ever serenaded with mockingbird song at sunrise? As melodious as it was, I preferred to cover my head with a quilt and grab a few more minutes of sleep.

Did you ever stretch flat on the ground to gaze at the sky on a warm day and wonder how God kept the blue sky and billowy white clouds up there?

I am thankful that a dish or lick of ice cream triggers childhood memories that takes me back to the long ago days of my childhood.


Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper business. Her column appears on Saturdays.