Ice cream… by Dan Hines

Guest blogger, Dan Hines hopes you enjoy the warmer months. Savor his words, and maybe a vanilla cone, dipped in butterscotch.

Ice cream isn’t just ice cream.

Right? Follow along… you know this.

A scoop next to your slice of birthday cake? Joyous. A scoop at 1am, watching reruns of shows that were awful the first time around while sleeplessly pondering life choices? A little sad, a little soothing. It’s nearly a weapon, the power ice cream holds for me. A weapon with Hershey’s syrup. As a kid, we rarely had ice cream in the house. Ice cream was birthday food. But then summer would arrive: ice cream season! For me, ice cream has always been about people, places… and Dad.

I spent most of my life in Southern PA. But for 4 long, dark years during middle school, I lived in Bath, Ohio. It was a beautiful area with great friends, but I was bullied. A lot. I don’t know if my folks knew, but was it a coincidence that during the bleakest times Dad would suggest, “Miniature golf?” Ice cream included was understood. My father is a man of few words. He’s a man who speaks through actions. But he’s a magician. He just knows. You don’t need to say a word, he just knows. He knows when ice cream needs to appear.

Yesterday, my father came to town. He visits twice a month to offer assistance, given my current condition. We visit the doctor, run errands, get haircuts… I’m 10 all over again. 10-year-old Dan. Only the 47-year-old version with the cane can’t keep up. Across the parking lot we see it at the same time. Dairy Queen.

“Want some DQ?”

“Yes!”

I won’t lie, it’s been an especially rough patch lately. But there it was…ice cream. And so I’m sitting across the table from Dad, and we’re talking. But I don’t hear a word he’s saying. His lips are moving, but my mind is somewhere else. I’m having ice cream in Bath, Ohio. I’m licking drips from a cone at a picnic table at Lake Winnipesaukee. I’m ordering a Blizzard at the DQ in Kennett Square. I’m in the parking lot eating ice cream in Winchester, VA. I’m 10 years old with Dad and a new haircut. And I know how lucky I am.

Ice cream is just ice cream. Right?

Nope. Just like Dad….it’s always there, and it’s magic. (You know this.)

wdq