Not like today!
Today, in my little town, there is an old fashioned Ice Cream Social. On a Thursday no less! At 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Who ever heard of such a thing? Everyone one knows that Ice Cream Socials are for Sunday afternoons, when the air is heavy with heat of summer and the breeze is just enough to make the edges of the paper tablecloths flutter. They are a place for tables laden with home made, from scratch fruit pies – rich in jeweled colors, dark chocolate brownies with pecan halves pressed into the fluffy brown frosting and angel food cake drenched in brilliant blueberry sauce and…REAL ice cream! They certainly aren’t for store bought ice cream or cakes made by people named Betty or Duncan!
Ice Cream Socials are a place that you can wear your beautiful new hat and still wander around barefoot. They are a place where you can hear stories of how they used to work hard to wrap and save up the chunks of ice, just to make the ice cream. They are a place where you can hear about Brenda Jane’s chocolate sauce recipe that she always “fudges” just a bit when she shares it with you, because no one else’s ever tastes the same. They are a place where you can sit near the wisteria and still hear all the gossip about Patty’s date the night before and how that boy put his hand on her leg!! They certainly didn’t take place during the work day, like the one that is happening today!
Ice Cream Socials are a part of my childhood – the staple of our community involvement. They took place at one of two locations – either downtown near the bandshell, where inevitably, the night would end with some small group playing (impromptu?! maybe), or out at “The Farm” where the house was white and huge, the windmill creaked with age and the wisteria was exquisite! They certainly didn’t take place INDOORS, like the one that is happening today.
Ice Cream Socials are something I relate to my grandparents and the dear ladies who smelled of rose water and face powder, that my grandmother called “friends.” The same ladies that Grandma played Bridge with, and when they thought I wasn’t listening swore (!) and talked about drinking beer (gasp!). They are something I remember being the patsy for – when Peter, Paul, Patrick, Perry, Preston, Phillip or PA sent me up to the table to look “sweet” and sneak another piece of pie…or cake….or brownie for them. (I did that?!?) They certainly didn’t include people on their lunch break, like the one that is happening today!
Ice Cream Socials are for wearing a pretty lawn or dotted swiss dress to eat some fruit pie or chocolate sauce, something my children can’t imagine! (I don’t mind this one so much, now that I’m the one doing the laundry) The idea of wandering about some vast expanse of garden in full bloom, with clusters of people sitting or standing, talking and nibbling daintily on dessert, will be relegated to a reception in the minds of my children. The magic of a warm Sunday afternoon, slipping into evening, with the cicadas singing and the people laughing, all being performed to the constant rhythm of the men cranking away at the ice cream freezers is something that they will either have to imagine or plan for themselves. They certainly aren’t going to have that at one they are having today!
Ice Cream Socials are many things to me. But, mostly, they are a thing of my past. I have to wonder….maybe it is time to make them a part of my future…about 2 o’clock today, in fact.
(Suppose I can get one of the girls to look sweet and get us more than one piece of cake?! )