by Debra on June 1, 2012

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Musical pairing – Stand By Me by Ben King

Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – and if you added the proverbial Neapolitan then that rounded the number up to four flavors of ice cream in my world back in the little house on Ankeny Street.  We didn’t own an extra freezer and the freezer compartment above our refrigerator always held the usual three or four stacking ice cube trays and matching storage container with just enough room for a few extra loaves of bread as well as one or two other frozen sundries for a family of six. But there were always at least one or two cartons of ice cream in Grandma and Grandpa’s lower, pull-out freezer . . . and they lived just a short distance away.

White letters spelled out ‘Snow Star Ice Cream’ stamped across the blue, half-gallon, rectangular box; below was a photograph of a small dish of perfectly scooped ice cream in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry and if Grandma had purchased the Neapolitan, the photograph was not only perfectly scooped, but the lines of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors were exact – as if someone took out a ruler and measured off each one.

Grandma’s favorite was vanilla, I almost always chose strawberry, my sister chocolate; I don’t remember the choices of the rest of my family but would guess that Neapolitan would get the nod so as to have a little taste of each. There was always a can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup in Grandma’s refrigerator and occasionally she’d buy a jar of Kraft Pineapple or Caramel topping – sometimes Dad would slice a banana to place alongside. On the rare occasion we’d have a treat and go out for ice cream, we’d pile into the car and head to Dairy Queen for a Dilly Bar. But those trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house were filled with the anticipation of racing through the front door, straight for that pull-out freezer, giddy with excitement to see what that frozen treasure chest held.

Those blue boxes were set on the counter to soften before my dad would scoop it into bowls; an old-fashioned, red-handled, metal scoop was run under hot water to make the scooping easier. If an entire carton was to be used, Dad would open the whole box end-to-end and cut the ice cream across the width into smaller rectangles rather than scoops.

Every once in a while I’d fancy a milkshake and take my spoon and swirl the ice cream until it was soft enough to slurp but most often, I’d spoon the frozen, sugary goodness into my mouth, let it slip across my tongue and as the cold confection began to melt, I’d take my eyes off my dish long enough to glance around the room – everyone was always smiling.