All I ever really wanted out of my young life was a chocolate ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate topping with a few pieces of nuts sprinkled on the top. I was blessed. Once or twice a week, my family would head out to an ice cream stand in the evening, and I’d be living the dream.
All I ever really wanted out of my young life was a chocolate ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate topping with a few pieces of nuts sprinkled on the top.
I was blessed. Once or twice a week, my family would head out to an ice cream stand in the evening, and I’d be living the dream.
Eating ice cream was one of the major values fostered by my parents. Respect our elders. Be polite. Obtain a good education. Don’t wander around like a herd of cattle at the shopping plaza. Eat all the food on our plates before really hungry kids in some other country apparently would try to grab it. And enjoy ice cream.
Actually, the ice cream might have been farther up on the list if my old man set the priorities.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Dad loved ice cream. I’d say he loved it more than his children, but he did bring us along on every trip he took to the ice cream shop, at least the ones of which I’m personally aware.
To be more accurate, we went to more than one ice cream stand.
One time a week, we headed off to a Tastee-Freez franchise at the north end of one of the Finger Lakes in western New York. This stand had the advantage of being within walking distance of an abundant source of water my mom could use to wash down the most dripped-on of her offspring. I don’t remember ever being fully dunked, but I was aware that my family strolled along the lakefront for more than just its scenic value.
Another night we’d head up to the other end of the town to a Carvel stand. This was riskier. It was at the intersection of two relatively busy roads. We stood in the parking lot to eat our ice cream cones, instead of walking. My parents watched us closely, and I don’t think they were worried about traffic. There always was the risk that one of their four children might sneak back inside their car and share some ice cream with a car seat.
Both stands were soft-serve, which spread out and sunk in quickly, and then it sort of stained when it hit upholstery. Don’t ask me how I know.
That was about the extent of my universe in those days. One ice cream stand to another ice cream stand. What kid ever needed more?
Oh, during the county fair at the dairy barn stand, or when a carnival came to town, we were able to enjoy scooped ice cream. I suppose that could be considered a higher-class experience. Except it was more work. You earned scooped ice cream, which hung out over the edge of the cone so you had to keep licking underneath it to catch the melting drops.
Page 2 of 2 - Soft-serve ice cream started down deep in a cone. It was family friendly. A soft-serve ice cream cone was better balanced and less likely to be so top-heavy that a little guy could let it tumble out of his hand if he relaxed his grip.
Don’t get me wrong, an accident such as that still could happen with soft-serve ice cream. And if it does, it could land on a father’s shoe, and sort of sit there, ice cream-side-down, while a kid and his dad just stare at it in disbelief.
I can’t say for sure that this did happen. I can’t cite a date. But it seems too vivid a memory for me to be making it up.