The Scoop

January 29, 2014 at 8:34 pm 3 comments

A clean out fever sometimes strikes my Mom. Over the years, I have trained her to wait a tick before tossing or donating, to give me a chance to peruse and scavenge. If I had saved nothing else over the years, I am glad I got my hands on this ice cream scoop.

Al's Ice Cream Scoop

This is the ice cream scoop my Dad used when we were kids. (Dad is fine by the way; he just got a new scoop.) But this is the one he used when he’d make us special sundaes or ice cream cones. It was an event that made us happy, in part, because, well, it was ice cream but also because serving ice cream was something my Dad got such a kick out of. He’d put joy and creativity into the effort. And he had a system.

I can picture it. Clear as day. My Dad, standing at the kitchen counter, looking down at me, smiling. He’d fill a small cup with warm tap water and dip the scoop in the water before digging into the ice cream, explaining, teaching, sharing a secret, this makes it easier to scoop.

Dad making ice cream sundaes or serving up ice cream cones was a tradition in our house, and everybody who has ever visited has had at least one of them.

There was a time when an ice cream shop up the street went up for sale, and there was talk in the house that maybe he should go into business. I was much too young to understand having a job or being the bread-winner or the risks of small business, but it made me sad that he didn’t do it.

Even very young humans are astute enough to recognize the things that make other people happy and to feel something, even if we don’t yet know the words regret or sacrifice, that feels a little sad, something that is a little less than perfect about being a grown-up.

Flash forward to me as an adult, and this same ice cream scoop reminds me of when my nephew Alex (now a 6-foot-something 16-year-old) was a tiny little human. My brother was in the Navy and his family was in town for a rare visit. We gathered at my Mom and Dad’s house. It was the first time I’d been around Alex that he could talk and walk. He was about 3 years old.

I walked from the dining room to the kitchen with a promise of getting him some ice cream. He came dashing in behind me, saying, “Wait! Wait! I have to tell you something.” I was at the kitchen counter, holding this scoop, looking down at him, smiling.

He told me to get a cup of water. He told me that if I dipped the scoop in the water, the ice cream would be easier to scoop. He added, oh-so-proudly, “That’s how my Dad does it.”

One of my favorite sweet, funny Circle-of-Life moments.

So, yeah, things are just things. But some things, unremarkable, everyday things, are more than utilitarian. They are memory triggers. Every time I use this scoop or even just see it in the utensil drawer, I feel a little jolt of happiness. I also feel a bit covetous and secretly lucky to be the kid who stayed in Pittsburgh and got the best hand-me-downs. This ice cream scoop is a mini-life preserver.

And, that, my friends, is my rationalization. Sometimes, winter doldrums and grown-up worries are easier to bear — if you eat a little ice cream on a Wednesday.

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

Rooting for Peyton Super Bowl Commercials

3 Comments Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive email notifications for new posts.

%d bloggers like this: