Vanilla Soft Serve.
That saccharine, definitely from a bag, amazing machine-molded treat.
At Stites Dance Studio, where my Grandpa Jack would pick me up, he would glance suggestively across the road at the Baskin-Robbins; practically announcing my cue to furtively ask: “Ice cream?”
He would break into that big, goofy smile and mumble, “Well, I guess, just this once.”
On the way to the beach house, no matter the weather, we would break at McDonald’s – “real fast” – for a cone. My grandmother grumbling in the passenger seat, and me and my brother just ecstatic to be alive after my grandfather’s tendency to pass 18-wheel logging trucks on the two lane mountain pass from Portland to Lincoln City, Oregon.
To this day whenever I crave ice cream, I get vanilla soft serve, and think of my grandpa.
I think of him chasing me along the shore line, shaking his head, as I dive through the frigid coastal waves. Of his ready willingness to drop everything to play dolls, or go “camping” in the driveway, or take care of whatever I needed.
The way he wrapped a gigantic bouquet of home-grown roses in aluminum foil and brought them to every one of my dance recitals.
His blue windbreaker hung by the door, the wrappers of green after-dinner mints stuffed into every possible place.
The honor, intelligence and laughter he taught me, all held in such a simple, sweet reminder.
The Art of the Everyday, January 10 – 32 flavors: Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?