The Importance of Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream!

Lately, this family has gone crazy over ice cream.

Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, peanut butter. In a cone. In a cup. In a cup with a cone on top. With coffee, with wine ~ sometimes even with a little whiskey poured over the top with a dash of pepper.  (the adults only versions, of course)

I have to admit, prior to this summer, I was never a huge fan, preferring slushes instead. But my skinny malinky long legs boy loves ice cream. And since he needs to gain weight, he gets it. And since we are there, so do we.

All this ice cream has turned us into ice cream connoisseurs, of a sort. We have a few locally made ice cream parlors around us, and we alternate between them on ice cream nights, every time debating the various merits. This one is creamier; that one is more flavorful. This one has a cuter shop; that one is a local tradition.

We can never come to a definitive decision for a winner.

Ice cream is one of those foods, like Proust’s madelines. I feel it is transportive, can connect you with a place or a memory or a feeling with just a bite. All those celebrations, vacations, lazy summer days.

Ice cream makes me think of my grandfather, who was always this strong, quiet presence in my life. He was a man of few words, but I remember so many nights where we load up into his car, always one of those large, plush interior cars, and I would feel so small but safe and cozy in the backseat next to my little brother and mom. He always went to the same place, Calder’s Dairy, with its white chairs that line the glass wall, and in those days, there was always a line out the door. He would  get butter pecan without fail, and I would get chocolate or superman, and then we would all eat in the parking lot, standing about in the glow from the setting sun. Everyone ate their ice cream so fast, except me. They would be finished while I was furiously trying to finish mine to keep up. As night drew on, on those endless summer nights of childhood, my grandpa always took us on a drive before heading home. Occasionally he would point out places he had worked, or the homes of friends from his younger days, but mostly he was silent, and so was I, as we navigated though neighborhoods unfamiliar to me, the empty cup in my hands, the taste of the rich chocolate becoming a memory, one that I would remember now, a married woman with my own child to make ice cream memories with.

Getting our craft on

We have been so busy, you guys know how summer is. Lots of social activities, time spent outside, hanging with friends and family, festivals, the list goes on and on. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of our latest adventures, including the night I just spent with my family – mom, aunt, SIL, cousin, extra moms..

The other night we all converged on my cousin’s house for snacks, drinks, conversation, and creativity. I thought it would be really nice to just get together, hang out, chatter, and work on whatever project we felt like doing.

The dining room table was clear when we entered the room- within minutes it was covered in the detritus of our creative endeavors, bits and bobs, yarn, felt, paper, even an easel. Slowly, bags of chips, wine bottles, wine glasses, and pop cups made their appearance. It was a beautiful mess, in my opinion, one born of fun and imagination.

We all had our own thing going – my mom and my SIL’s mom were crocheting. Chrissy, my SIL, was going to knit but spent the evening creating a giant ball with a whole in the middle. My cousin’s wife worked on an elaborate paint by number painting. Did you know they made them? I didn’t, but now I want to try one! My aunt and my cousin’s MIL worked on origami with the kids who were in attendance, while I labored over my felt pig. I of course forgot pins, so I had to stop halfway through the night. Typical me lol. I still had fun talking with everyone, and chilling, and it did give me the idea to bring coloring pages and colored pencils with me next time, in case anyone else needs an emergency project. There was so much laughter, crazy storytelling, a little bit of gossip. It was a great night, so much fun that we decided to make it a regular thing, and have one every month! I will probably still be working on my farm animals; if I finish, I am going to attempt embroidery. I feel I have so many different crafty type things I want to do, and never the time to do them. This is a fun way to make that time, and reminds me of how throughout history, women gathered to do this very thing, with quilting bees, sewing circles, and the like. I love the idea that our nights mimic women’s history, as we come together, share tales, and let our imaginations run free for a while.