During my latest weekly phone call with Louise, my grandmother told me all about her trip to a fro-yo parlor called Tutti Frutti, its self-serve dispensers, its numerous toppings, and her choices (coconut, strawberry, and pumpkin with fresh fruit and cheesecake bites on top).
Louise was BLISSED OUT. And she had good reason to share her experience with me, because I, too, have a serious weakness for frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, and especially ice cream. (I draw the line at sherbert. A girl’s gotta have SOME standards.) Ice cream was the only dessert we ever had in our house, other than cookies. And the cookies my mom bought were either off-brand Oreos or those vanilla/chocolate/strawberry wafer cookies, all of which she’d dump into a green, rectangular Tupperware, where they’d crumble and get their cookie dust all over each other. Ice cream was always the wiser choice, even if it was merely Neapolitan. When we slept over at my grandparents’ house, Louise always gave us ice cream for dessert, though she only ever had one flavor: Heavenly Hash, a mix of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with almonds and ripples of marshmallow and fudge — which, BTW, has its own fan page on Facebook. But my favorite of all ice cream back then was Carvel vanilla soft-serve, which I preferred in a cone with rainbow sprinkles. And don’t get me started on Carvel ice cream cakes…a story I will relish telling you another time, if you haven’t heard it already.
Today’s story takes place on a long ago summer vacation, when my sister and I found ourselves sitting for a caricaturist. (Yes, you heard that right. A caricaturist. Our parents had us pose for all manner of classy portraiture.) This caricaturist began his drawing by asking what each of us liked to do. Of course, my sister said she liked to draw, so the artist rendered her wearing a smock and a beret, a palette and brush in her hands.
Then it was my turn. “What do you like to do?” he asked me.
“I like to roller-skate!” I exclaimed. The caricaturist looked me up and down.
I should mention that I ate a LOT of ice cream when I was young. And a lot of everything else. My Italian family considered me a healthy eater; that should tell you something. To make matters worse, I wore hand-me-downs from an older, taller, thinner cousin, which usually looked stretched-out and tight on me, and rode up in all the wrong places. So, while I really did like to roller-skate, it probably didn’t, er, show. Not that any of this is any excuse for what happened next.
The caricaturist rendered me on roller skates, just as I’d hoped. He drew motion-lines behind me, so it looked like I was really speeding along. And then, to the right of my caricatured, roller-skating self, he drew a sign with an arrow pointing forward. Above the arrow, he wrote “ICE CREAM.”
Thankfully, I have left behind any embarrassment about this moment. And I’ve decided to OWN IT: Yes, folks, I may like many things, including roller-skating, but I love me some ice cream. I’m not ashamed to say I would roll (nay, launch) myself in its direction, even now. In fact, when I’m with my sister and/or husband these days and feel myself getting a hankering for the cold, sweet stuff, I merely point my index finger, simulating the arrow on my childhood caricature’s sign.
Of course, if I’d known better way back when, I would have shown the caricaturist a very different finger.
Photo above of me in Maine this summer, cozying up to some softserve at Roundtop Ice Cream in Damariscotta.