July is National Ice Cream Month and my birthday month.
A match, for certain.
I’m an Ice Cream Guy. Big time. When ice cream is in the house, I can hear it call my name from the freezer. “Come get me. Just one spoonful. Bet you can’t….”
Ice cream always wins. I can’t eat one spoonful. One spoonful at a time, maybe. Then another. Just one more. Big spoon, too.
I’m traditional, but boring, when it comes to my favorite ice cream. I like plain vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Hot fudge is good, too, but it takes more work. I’m not always patient enough to heat the hot fudge in the microwave. I want it now. Right now.
I’m a Spumoni fan, too, especially around the holidays. Must be the colors. I like the green section best. Cookie dough is third on my list. Bigger the chunks, the better. I’m good with frozen custard and gelato, too.
I’m not sure I have tasted bad ice cream. But don’t give me ice milk or sugar free ice cream. That’s nonsense.
Genetically, I come from a long line of ice cream lovers. My mom and dad were both incurable ice cream fans. My mom said she ate ice cream every night when she was pregnant with me. My dad said he did, too, because he didn’t want mom to eat ice cream alone. Bud was a loving, caring man.
My grandpa fed my early love for ice cream when I was a toddler. He picked me up every weekday at noon from the Wee Willie and Susie in Edgemont. We called it kindergarten because there was no kindergarten at the time. We took a lot of naps at my kindergarten, in between snacks and coloring. Small cots lined up in a row in a dark basement. I never napped. Daydreamed a lot. Baseball. Football. A new bike. And yes, ice cream sometimes.
Every afternoon, Gramps and I enjoyed a bowl of ice cream. Extra big on Thursdays when Grandma was at the neighborhood Grandmother’s Club lunch. Gramps was big on Neapolitan. He liked the chocolate and strawberry. I liked vanilla. We were a great team.
As a kid, I could hear the bells of the ice cream truck from several neighborhoods away. I was like a dog that hears a shrill whistle. Eyes bugged. Head tilted. Life on hold. Easily distracted. Often, we went to it on our bikes.
I cut back on my ice cream intake during summer. High heat and dairy products make weird sounds come from my stomach. I’d rather eat ice cream in fall and winter. Summer is more for Popsicles.
Some people enjoy making homemade ice cream. I don’t understand. I’m fine picking up a half gallon of Blue Bunny. I can try but on my own, I can’t make it taste that good.
My favorite ice cream story, which shows the helplessness of my affection:
More than a decade ago, I was working in west St. Louis County. For lunch, I was going to stop by an old Maggie Moo’s ice cream store in a Dierberg’s plaza off Olive Road.
Before I stopped for ice cream, I stopped by a local Marshall’s store. Once inside, unfortunately, I slipped on a wet floor and fell backwards. You guessed it. Instinctively, I used my hands to break my fall. The end result was a broken right wrist. I knew I had broken my wrist when I tried to start my car and could not twist my right hand.
But guess what I did before I went to the hospital for x-rays?
I went by Maggie Moo’s for ice cream.
A small cup of vanilla, with chocolate sauce on top.
I ate it with my left hand.
I swear it eased the pain.
And it put things in proper perspective.
After x-rays and a doctor visit, the nurse in the emergency room wrapped my wrist in a precast and wiped some chocolate sauce from the front of my dress shirt.
“That looks fresh,” she said. I laughed and explained that I stopped for ice cream before coming to the emergency room. Raised my broken wrist high to keep the blood flow and pain to a minimum.
“You’re helpless,” she said.
“I know,” I said. I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed or thank her so I just agreed.