Home Made Ice Cream as a Memorial

Memorial Day came and went without much reflection this year. My parents have been gone for many years, and if I lived “back home” I’d have taken flowers to the cemetery I’m sure. But since I’m a thousand miles away, my sister is in charge of that.
This year she phoned in a panic that she needed a fifteen word statement honoring dad in the local newspaper. That included our names. I was suddenly down to ten words, but I quickly wrote it out and sent it to her in order to make the deadline. Phew!
So yesterday I spent the day helping my daughter who recently moved into a new house that she is renovating. We toured model homes so she could “visualize” cabinets and hardware in the kitchens and baths. We did a little shopping for décor. I approved her choice of stain for the cabinetry. My son hung drapery rods for me and we ordered in. Nothing special, and nothing having to do with the holiday or memorials of any kind.
But when I mentioned making home made ice cream, the memories flooded for all of us. Dad was the ice cream guru. Nothing fancy about his taste – vanilla every year with toppings if we wanted to wreck his hard work. Out came the old wooden bucket that began to split and disintegrate a few years back. He’d put the metal can into the freezer so it was good and cold before he poured in the “batter”. Ice and salt and cranking by hand; then into the freezer to harden a bit more while we waited impatiently with bowls and spoons. Some one would be chosen to lick the paddle and have the first taste before proclaiming it delicious and ready to eat.

I used my sister’s old electric ice cream machine this time – no more cranking. But my son watched carefully as I mixed the ingredients. My daughter prepped ice and salt. We made sure the paddle was secure and turned on the switch. 50 minutes later, it was done. Into the freezer while we ate take-out subs and then the unveiling. It needed to freeze harder, so what I ate later, after they left, was actually better. But melting or not, it was proclaimed delicious. And our memories of my dad held secure another year.

We will probably relive this memory again 4th of July. I can’t think of a better memorial for my dad. Sure, it’s good to remember him as a soldier in WWII; good to remember his service to his country and his love for mom and us kids. But ice cream is such a pleasant reminder of his life. 

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