Monday, August 3, 2009

Pop Goes the Weasel

"Pop Goes the Weasel" grew closer and closer, and the line of impatient children at the curb grew longer and longer. Cool water from wet bathing suits sizzled on the burning asphalt, soothing little toes. Every child remembers blistering days at the pool and the excitement from the ice-cream truck singing "Pop Goes the Weasel" as it rounded the corner. I teetered on my tip-toes and peered over the towering window of the ice-cream truck to offer the shady looking man my handful of wet nickels and dimes. Pictures of Sponge-bob, Spiderman, Bubblegum, Cotton Candy Swirls, and Klondike Bars scattered the side of the truck. Spending me hard-earned lemonade stand money on a melting Popsicle highlighted every summer afternoon.
My grandma never owned an ice-cream truck, but her home always held this same special indulgence. Whenever a family gathers together, ice cream presents itself. I gently tugged on my grandma's navy pants while she was scooping my favorite homemade vanilla ice-cream into my red and white checkered bowl and stared up at her with my big brown eyes. "Nana," I requested, "my stomach is still really grumbling. May I have one extra scoop?" My grandma slyly looked about for my mother's conservative eye and then quickly shoveled one more heap of vanilla ice-cream into my cramped bowl. Her traditional vanilla ice-cream greatly surpassed all the other ice creams and flavors I ever tasted. The extra ingredient of love had something to do with it.
"Happy Birthday!" squealed all the youthful girls in the crowded skating rink party room. Michelle wanted me to open her fancy Barbie gift first, and Julie sought to return to the ice despite the huge Zamboni monster tearing through the rink, but every girl anticipated the moment when my parents distributed the ice-cream. Whether in a little carton with a plastic spoon or on the side with a mound of cake, each girl giggled with delight as the frozen delicacy hit her already shivering body. I preferred to receive containers of ice-cream, especially mint chocolate chip, than a silly doll that was out of proportion. Okay... maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but I sure looked forward to this treat on my birthday, and I expected to receive it at all of my friends' parties as well. Interestingly, I quickly slurped up the last smidgen of ice-cream from my bowl, so I could soar back to the ice, yet I still remember, so vividly, the taste of those spoonfuls and the activities that surrounded them.
Orange Sherbet... Rocky Road... Strawberry Chip... Chocolate... Peach... Cookies & Cream...
and so many more flavors. However, it does not matter the kind of ice-cream the child receives, how a girl eats it, or how many scoops your grandma serves. What matters rests in the memories that the ice-cream paints in a mind and heart. Every time the fresh chill of ice-cream tingles your taste buds, your mind traces back to an expression, location, or emotion that warms your soul.

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