Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Nights at the Ice Cream Stand

My childhood memories of summer include lots and lots of hot, muggy nights driving to the ice cream stand with my parents and my younger brother. My dad loves ice cream with a passion other men might reserve for things like women or NASCAR racing. So when the temperatures rose to somewhere around “blistering,” we’d be in the car headed for a favorite ice cream haunt.

Where we went depended on where we lived. When I was very young, we lived in upstate New York, and our favorite place was a stand that served fresh peach ice cream. I remember driving there in the dark with the car windows down, the smell of lilacs streaming by in the night, then standing around the parking lot waiting with other patrons for our hand-dipped treat. There were probably fireflies and the sound of crickets. There was sometimes heat lightening. I know there was giggling, and drips we tried to catch before they fell from our cones onto the hot pavement.

In other places, our stand-by was Dairy Queen or Baskin-Robbins. You can’t go wrong with 31 flavors.

When my son was born, I looked forward to keeping our ice-cream-stand summer evenings going. But then we discovered his nut allergies.

Baskin-Robbins went right out the window. Can’t trust all those scoops in the same murky dishwater, moving from the Rocky Road to the Mango Sorbet. Dairy Queen has a big sign on the door saying everything they sell may be contaminated with nuts.

So, our ice cream evenings changed. We buy safe ice cream at the store and serve it at home on the patio. It’s nice, but somehow it’s just not the same thing as piling in the car, headed for a delectable treat, noise, and other good-natured ice cream lovers. But it’s just not something that was in the cards for us and our allergic son. It was easy to let go, because he’s more important than a hot fudge sundae (most days), but still, it was sort of sad.

But guess what? There’s a new place in town! Zeppe’s has opened up on Main Street in Layton, and they serve Italian Ice (gelato – kind of like sorbet, in wonderfully rich fruit flavors). I had some of their Italian ice last week at a birthday party, and it was delicious. So I stopped by there this weekend while out running errands and checked out the place, and sure enough, they have a few tables, a couple of chairs on the sidewalk, and a whole array of luscious-sounding flavors.

The best part is this: because their Italian ices are nut-, egg-, and dairy-free, my son’s best friend can also eat there.

Suddenly, I foresee a Friday night in my future that involves all of us – and my son’s best friend – piling into the car and heading out for a frozen treat, just like I did when I was a kid. I’m so ready for my long-lost summer tradition!

Now if only Utah had fireflies…

1 comment:

Juliea said...

Wow, I remember those hot summer night rides to Anne's, an ice cream place, in Newport, KY. My dad went there when he was a kid and my dad's mom went there when she was a kid. What great memories! Thanks for sharing yours and glad you found a place to go with your family and friend:) Hope to find a place for my family.