It’s National Ice Cream Day. Yes, I guess it’s a thing. But does anyone really need a national day to enjoy a cup, cone or bowl of their favorite ice cream? Not me!
But, hey, I’ll play along. I’ve recently taken quite a liking to a pistachio gelato at Spin Pizza. But my all-time go-to fave is Haagen Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond.
So in honor of this day, I’m sharing a scene from my first novel, Unexpected Legacy, which takes place around . . . you guessed it. Ice cream, of course!
“It’s very nice to meet you,” Pattie continued. “My kids are dying to meet you, too, but we’ll save that for another day. Just remember, though, the longer you put it off, the more excited they’re going to be. That means the more wild and obnoxious they’ll get. And I won’t thank you when they start driving me crazy.”
Matt couldn’t help but grin as Brady stared at his aunt. She must’ve seemed crazy already to him.
“Well, I can see you’re a talker,” Pattie told Brady. “But since you shouldn’t talk and eat at the same time, we’re just going to leave this for you. We’ll collect the utensils later. Unless you decide to come out for dessert. Ice cream with caramel and whipped cream.”
With that, she winked at Brady and breezed out the door. Matt nodded at his son. “Need anything else?”
Brady shook his head.
While the others dug into the ice cream, Matt gathered up the empty pizza boxes and shoved them into the large plastic trash bin in his garage, grateful for the few moments of silence the task afforded him. He didn’t want to be rude, but he hoped Pattie and the kids would leave soon. He was ready to crash, or at least settle into the couch in front of some mind-numbing television.
He started back to the kitchen then heard Tess shriek, “There he is!”
Matt bounded up the stairs in time to see Brady standing in the hallway. All heads swiveled toward him.
Matt’s mother was the first to greet Brady.
“Brady, would you like some ice cream?”
He shrugged. “Sure.”
Pattie restrained Tess, who’d jumped from her chair, about to charge Brady.
“How ’bout caramel and whipped cream?” Nonie asked.
“Uh, sure,” Brady said.
“Well, come on in and sit down,” Matt’s dad said, pulling out a chair for him.
Brady took a few more steps, then plopped into the chair. Matt’s dad took the crutches from him and leaned them against a corner.
Matt held his breath as Brady looked around the table, making eye contact with the other kids.
“Brady,” Pattie spoke up and nudged Tess, who’d suddenly gone shy and was holding on to her mother. “This is your cousin, Tess.”
“Hi, Tess,” Brady said.
She turned away and hid behind Pattie.
Matt shook his head, not sure he’d ever understand children, no matter how many books he read.
Pattie went around the table. “And this is Alex. And Jeremy.”
They both mumbled a hello, and Brady nodded.
Nonie set a heaping bowl of ice cream in front of Brady.
“Now let him eat his ice cream,” she told the kids, as if they were clamoring to talk to him, rather than staring, tongue-tied. “And you eat yours, too. Jeremy, you’re making a mess. Here, use this napkin.”
Scott stood up and reached a hand toward Brady. “Hello, Brady, I’m Scott. These hooligans belong to me.”
Brady offered Scott about half a smile, and shook his hand. “Hi.”
“How’d you like to babysit some time?” Scott asked, a grin spreading across his face.
The room erupted in laughter, and the awkwardness seemed to subside.
Matt nodded at Brady, secretly proud of him for venturing out of the bedroom and facing the situation. It showed courage, and that was something they’d both need a healthy dose of in the coming months.
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And happy scooping! Feel free to share your fave with us!
3 thoughts on “Ice cream makes everything better!”
Great scene, Darlene! I’m not a huge ice cream fan, though I’ll eat it, particularly if it’s chocolate or peach.
Your scene made me realize how different historical fiction is from contemporary. In the past, people couldn’t even rely on ice cream to cool them off in the summer. Here’s a scene from my novel, Lead Me Home, about finding ice along the Oregon Trail (a rare occurrence):
In the afternoon the travelers reached the fifth crossing of the Sweetwater. “We’ll camp on the far side,” Pershing announced. “Tomorrow we go overland across a bend in the river. Try to reach the Sweetwater again by dusk.”
The crossing was easy, and camp beside the river peaceful. No arguments disrupted the evening. Fiddles and banjos entertained them until late. In the morning they followed a small tributary of the Sweetwater. The narrow, hilly valley and sandy soil made for slow travel. Masses of treeless granite rose high above the valley.
In late morning Joel, who was scouting, rode back to the wagons. “Ice,” he shouted. “There’s an ice field ahead.”
“Ice Slough,” Pershing said. “I heard tell of it, but ain’t never seen it. Stays cold enough underground to keep the water frozen.”
A short time later the wagons reached a grassy swamp. Children dug in the mud with Zeke and Joel, all of them laughing. They found a large sheet of ice just inches under the grass. Zeke chopped it into pieces the children could carry. The Pershing twins and Otis Tanner shrieked at the cold until Hatty Tanner gave them a bucket to put the ice in.
“What strange country,” Jenny said to Mac. “Not like New Orleans.”
The clumpy sedge grass on top of the ice field was difficult to traverse, but the ice was such a welcome treat that no one complained. Mac even saw Abercrombie smiling at Esther as she helped Mrs. Abercrombie churn chipped ice and sugar into a frosty treat.
After the midday meal they filled buckets with ice to enjoy through the afternoon. Their route went through dry, cracked land, broken occasionally by small streams. But the novelty of the frozen field kept their spirits high. In the early evening they saw the Sweetwater in the distance. They ate a quick, cold supper and kept going until they reached the river.
“We’ll cross in the morning,” Captain Pershing said. “Then take a Sabbath rest.”
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I’m totally with you on the Swiss Almond Vanilla – the best of everything! And, just to let you know, I LOVED Unexpected Legacy.
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