In packaged cup, or from colorful truck, ice cream is tempting

Published 1:41 am Saturday, March 9, 2019

I snatched my grocery list from the cabinet top where I keep it for easy access. That way, it is always handy when I think of something I need to add. I scanned it: eggs. bacon, saltines, cereal, mayonnaise, frozen rolls, milk, bread, slices of my favorite ham from the deli. But what else? I knew I had left something out. Something essential, maybe.

“Oh well,” I told myself, “I’ll think of whatever it is when I get there.” Sure enough, I did…ice cream. The sight of it jumped out at me as I pushed my cart down an aisle with frozen food on both sides. Several show cases were filled with all kind of ice cream goodies to choose from. I searched for a package of chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups, just right for my afternoon snack. Since they were on sale, I bought an extra package.

When I reached the check-out counter, I wondered how in the world I forgot to jot down ice cream on my list. Even though it wasn’t steamy hot outside that day, ice cream is a welcome treat at my house anytime.

As I drove home with loaded grocery bags, ice cream was still on my mind. It was then that I thought of the ice cream man who drove up and down the road in front of my house. Bells rang. Music blared. The truck was plastered with colorful pictures of ice cream delights. Curiosity pulled me away from the air-conditioning and ran me outside and away from scrubbing my oven to find out what was going on. When I reached the front door, the truck was almost out of sight. I grabbed some money and sat on the steps awaiting its return. When it pulled up and stopped, I rushed out to choose some goodies.

I recognized the driver. He was a retired snowbird who attended our church. He took the job to have something to do in his spare time. Selling ice cream and making people happy made him happy. “To tell you the truth,” he said, smiling, “I sort of feel bad taking pay for this job because it’s so much fun.”

It’s all I can do to drive by our local ice cream shop without yielding to temptation. Sometimes I pass on by, only to suddenly get an overpowering longing for a milk shake. Chocolate’s my favorite, but I wouldn’t turn down vanilla or strawberry. I like to buy the largest size to freeze to eat with a spoon later. I think a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top and chocolate oozing down the side is my long-time favorite.

Or…well, you get the picture. All are delights and test my will power.

I understand that vendors began selling ice cream sandwiches 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.

Nina Keenam is a former newspaper reporter.