Summer makes me think about ice cream cones, ice cream sodas and how my parents met. You are probably wondering what possible connection could there be between ice cream and my parents. So glad you asked.
My mother lived with her family in Deland, Florida where she attended high school and Stetson University. In the summers she would travel north to Ohio to stay with her aunt, uncle and favorite cousin in Lakeview, a small, family friendly resort town. Her uncle was a pharmacist and owned the local drug store which housed a popular soda fountain. My mother worked the counter, whipping up ice cream sodas, sundaes, malts and milkshakes. My father was a handsome, divorced, businessman who owned a successful marina and boat sales venue at Indian Lake that specialized in the sales of the beautiful old mahogany Chris Craft boats.
One hot July day he walked into the drug store and took a seat at the counter. My mother had heard all about him from her friends but had never seen him in person. The fact that he was divorced— back then it was the exception and not the rule— seemed to compound his allure. With his black hair, ice blue eyes and dark sun tan she thought he looked like Cary Grant. More than a little rattled, she asked him what he would like and knew it was fate when he ordered her absolute favorite, a chocolate ice cream soda.
Dad took his sweet time finishing his soda but it only took five minutes for Mother to decide she really wanted him to ask her out. Lucky for her he was entertaining the same thoughts. After he left, and her pulse ratcheted down to normal, she took the quarter—soda, plus tip— he’d left on the counter, slipped it in her pocket and took the same amount out of her purse and put it into the register. Even though I’d heard this story at least a hundred times, it always made me smile. Everyone deserves a little romance especially my parents.
Decades later, on a bright summer day, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Prior to the anniversary toast, my mother whispered to me that she still had the coveted quarter. My dad chimed in saying as it turned out, it was the most expensive ice cream soda he’d ever had.
So that is why summer time makes me think of ice cream and my parents. In a manner of speaking, I owe my existence to a chocolate ice cream soda which happens to be my favorite, too.