Since I was a kid in Vinita, Oklahoma, where I was born, I have loved going out for an ice cream cone on a hot summer night. Though that feeling has endured, the locales and the family members present have changed throughout the years. My grandparents once took me. Now I take my grandkids.
The circle of life.
For the past 23 years my family has called the rural countryside just west of Jefferson City, Missouri home. The landside is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the cost of living is 16% below the national average.
AND – it is home to the Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor at 610 Madison in Jefferson City. Grandparents have been taking their grandkids there since 1934. In the 1950’s they remodeled the parlor and installed wooden booths – the same booths you would crowd into today if you were lucky enough to visit.
Three generations of my family took the short trip to Central Dairy today for a cool treat on a hot July Sunday afternoon. People were lined out the door and along the sidewalk.
In the rain.
We joined them.
The line moves fast.
A half-dozen employees behind a long counter build up their biceps by scooping dips of 50+ flavors of ice cream into cake cones, waffle cones, or cups. With all the exotic flavors to choose from my three grandkids all chose sherbet. The adults chose Rocky Road or (my favorite), Jamocha Almond Fudge. Six people took their seats in the ancient (same age as me) wooden booths holding the ice cream treat of their choice for a grand total of $16.
As we enjoyed our ice cream, we also enjoyed a double shot of people watching. The booths in the compact parlor have big plate glass windows overlooking the sidewalk on one side and a perpetual line of ice cream connoisseurs perusing the heavenly display of ice cream tubs a few feet away on the other.
My nominee for “Father of the Year” and his smiling son paused as they passed by. They each sported red dye on one side of their face and hair and green dye on the other. “The wife is out of town, and it washes out” said the dad with a smile as we made eye contact.
“It is supposed to wash right out. I hope it does anyway. I have to go to work tomorrow.”
The summer shower had stopped when we walked back outside. The sun was making another appearance. It was a nostalgic visit to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor for my wife and me. My grandkids have grown up going to Central Dairy and take it for granted.
Someday I hope they get to take their grandkids to Central Dairy for ice cream.
And just like I did today, I hope they pause for just a moment and think back to these “good old days” when their by then “long-gone” grandparents used to take them out for ice cream on hot Sunday afternoons in July.