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Cones Of Our Childhood

Ice cream tastes different on summer nights.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that homework and bedtime curfews aren’t waiting back at home. Maybe it’s because you have to lick an ice cream cone faster in the heat to prevent sticky snail tracks between the fingers.

When I was a child, the biggest treat on a summer night was to drive about 2 miles to High’s, a convenience store in a shopping center that offered single and double dips at prices deemed occasionally acceptable by my budget-conscious parents. You could have several gallons of ice cream in your freezer at home, but, still, nothing beat piling into the car for an ice cream road trip. We would drive with the windows down, anticipation building in the warm summer breeze. 

My mom always got pistachio, dad was a chocolate man. I remember thinking that I could never see myself ordering green ice cream ever, no matter how old I grew. 

My sister, brother and I would sit on the steps on the back side of the shopping mall and compete to see who could make his or her scoop last longer – proof that the server had obviously favored one of us and piled more onto the cone. 

We all live in separate towns now – miles and cones apart, nothing but  sweet childhood memories to keep us together. 

The other night, my family went out for ice cream, leaving behind a freezer full of Breyers and popsicles. Standing in line with all the other people jonsing for a summer fix, I wanted to freeze time with my daughters and raise a cone to the carefree moment. 

Then I ordered my pistachio cone and began to lick slowly.