Why we stock two summer essentials

A slew of grands were coming and we were out. Completely out. Not sunscreen. Not bug spray. Ice cream.

And I call myself a grandma.

You don’t go to Grandma’s on a hot day, fan yourself in her freezer and not see ice cream. A grandma could be stripped of her title.

Just like that, life turns on a dime. Or an ice cream sandwich.

The last time some of them came and the freezer was empty, one of them looked at me in bewilderment, her expression slowly morphing to a smile of pity. The look said, “When was the last time that woman was credentialed?” and “Isn’t there a grandma refresher course she could take?”

My parents were legen-dairy. They always had three kinds of ice cream in the freezer for grandkids and boasted of an open-door policy. The kid who enjoyed all that ice cream the most, is now lactose intolerant. She can no longer eat ice cream, but at least she has fond memories of ice cream.

The husband, “any time is a good time for ice cream,” is the one who never disappoints. He considers Hershey’s syrup a staple. You think the man isn’t popular? The grands follow him like the Pied Piper. Hershey’s syrup is the way to win devotion and wield influence. Politicians should try it—a  Hershey’s syrup giveaway funded by federal money. (Your money.)

By the way, I don’t cone-done that behavior.

I don’t cone-done ants in the house either, which is why I make the kids eat ice cream outside. That’s what I’ll be remembered for—yelling: “Take that mess outside!”

There really are green beans behind all this junk food. They have frost on them, but they’re there!

Meanwhile, the Pied Piper is holding the door open squirting chocolate syrup into their mouths as they file out the door.

Watching kids eat ice cream gives you a window into their personalities.

The ones who smash ice cream with the back of a spoon, squish it against the side of the bowl and turn it into soup, are the same ones who consider kicking dirty clothes under the bed as “cleaning up.”

Kids who layer toppings deliberately, or are particular about the even distribution of sprinkles, have perfectionist tendencies and are the ones with building and engineering bents.

Naturally, there are wild variations even within the same gene pool. Two grands who are sisters, ages 6 and 3, have diametrically different approaches to the fudge pop.

The 6-year-old cajoles the fudge pop, lapping it neatly and methodically, slowly turning it as it vanishes into thin air. There is not the slightest bit of evidence she ever held one in her hand. Even the wooden stick has disappeared. Maybe she ate that, too.

Her 3-year-old sister approaches a fudge pop like a full-body contact sport. She attacks wildly, smearing ice cream on her forehead, cheeks and chin, throughout her hair, up and down both arms and all over her clothes. She gets more on her than she gets in her.

All of which brings us to the second summer essential to always have on hand: a wand attachment with a spray setting for the garden hose.


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