Today I’m grateful for ice cream.
Yes – that smooth, creamy, luxurious, cold and soothing treat that makes a mouth water at its mere utterance. Today ice cream comes in various forms and in a number of different flavors that appeal to every type of palate. You can buy it sugar free and fat free but the only ones that appeal to my particular fancy are the ones that make my taste buds sing. I would say that there is no bad ice cream flavors but I’ve tasted a few awful ones in my time. And still, I love it and not just because it tastes good.
My obsession with ice cream dates back to the days when my parents would bribe us to do work around the house with root beer floats at the local A&W Root Beer joint. It was a luxury back then. Working class kids like us rarely got store bought ice cream so the chance to have a tasty treat like ice cream gave us the motivation to work hard and fast to get the job done so we could be on our way before mom and dad changed their minds. Those moments were hard to come by and that’s what made them memorable.
The ice cream itself was hard work back then because we used to make it ourselves with an old hand crank and a bucket full of ice and a whole bunch of rock salt. Mom would mix up the ingredients in the metal, cylindrical container that was placed into the bucket of ice and rock salt and Dad, my brother and I would take turns cranking it round and round until the contents of the container achieved the familiar creamy texture. The event was limited to warm summer nights and some of our best conversations were had around that bucket.
As we got older, ‘ice cream’ became dad’s code word for, ‘let’s have a talk’. When there was a topic that required a delicate touch, the conversation either started or ended with a bowl of ice cream or an ice cream cone. We knew that there was going to be some serious discussions whenever it involved ice cream. Ice cream was like a salve for tattered emotions and it unfailingly made things better.
When we moved to Samoa the trend continued. My most memorable times with my family often involved ice cream because like our lives back in America, it was a rare treat and it was often eaten in the company of dearest family members and closest friends. Sometimes, it was the precursor to the start of a magnificent and lasting friendship. I still recall riding in the bed of a truck, cruising along Beach Road, zipping around the Apia Clock Tower on our way to Isa’s Ice Cream shop in the heart of town. That memory is imprinted on my mind as a happy time with my entire family.
Today, the tradition continues with my own family. There’s rarely a gathering where ice cream isn’t involved and just like my childhood the moments we share together and the conversations that are sparked over a bowl of ice cream. It is the best medium for open discussions and it has never failed to make me and those around me smile.
I’m grateful for ice cream. And I’m also grateful for the memories that are associated with this delectable treat!