Archives For Sno-Cones

Summertime: a list

June 5, 2014 — 1 Comment

The backyard thermometer has been inching upward the past couple of weeks, the humidity along with it. I suspect the balmy, breezy days of spring are on the way out. This can only mean…

Summer is upon us.

I recently read that the annual average temperature in the contiguous United States has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, and summers inparticular were 1.6 degrees hotter(So, it wasn’t just my imagination…)

It’s time to brace myself for the inevitable.

Quick! Trick self into believing things won’t be that bad this summer. Make cheesy list of perennially “cool” summer things. Keep fingers crossed that this will work…


1. Garden hoses.

Never has such a simple household implement consistently delivered so much bang for the buck! Makes me want to thank the inventor. Alas, I cannot, seeing that the fellow who got creative with ox gut lived about 400 B.C. More recently — only 400 years ago — a Dutch dude made hausen out of linen, then later his countrymen switched to leather. Eventually, rubber and then vinyl would be fashioned into the bright green coils. Much better than ox gut… eew!

I loved the garden hose from the moment I could manage the spigot on the side of the house. Because hoses could be attached to sprinklers! And playing in sprinklers is one of the absolute giddiest forms of fun. In addition, quenching summertime thirst from a makeshift water fountain ranks pretty high on the fun-o-meter too. (Garden hoses have been known to occasionally tempt me to surprise attack and terrorize neighborhood boys. Had to be careful with this one, though — paybacks could be intense.

I still enjoy special garden hose moments, but not so much for reasons mentioned above. I mostly prance around the yard watering flowers and herbs and vegetables. Nowadays, I tote my hose on a nifty little wheeled caddy. Once again, a thank you note to an inventor is in order. And from time to time, I might pause to fill a few water balloons. Heh heh.


2. Swimming pools (and other bodies of water). It didn’t matter whether it was a municipal pool, a four-foot inflatable number, or a body of water found in nature — if it accommodated the immersing of oneself while the heat was beating down, it’d do. Spent a lot of time and took a bunch of swim lessons at the city park pool, and had the prune fingers and chlorine split ends to prove it.

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Pools are still very cool, but you won’t catch me doing canon balls off the diving board any more. Lolling on inflatable rafts or noodles is more like it… oh, yeah.


3. Sno Cones (and their step-cousins, popsicles). So much refreshment to be gained from these icy colored-sugar-water treats! What can I say? Good to the last chunk of ice.

Admittedly, I haven’t had a snow cone in a while, since I’m more inclined to opt for a fruit smoothie to zap the heat these days. (And where is that wonderful chap who invented the blender…?)


4. Kool-Aid. So many flavors, so many rainbow mustaches. Stirring the Kool-Aid was perhaps the very first meal prep chore entrusted to me. It would be served up in aluminum tumblers, giving the sugary drink even more chill.

Not being into bright food coloring so much any more, I’m more likely to choose fresh-squeezed lemonade over this childhood staple. I even go as far as to chill glass mugs in the freezer beforehand to get that extra frosty effect…


And last*, but not least…

5. Movie theaters. Boy, o boy, how I loved sitting in air-conditioned movie theaters. Many stores and public places back in the day were proud to display their window decals, “Come In — It’s Cool Inside!”. But you could sit for at least an hour or two in a movie theater — an environment as awesome as standing in front of the frig with the door wide open (“Close the frig, young lady — you think money grows on trees?”).

Movie theaters are still calling to me. Not that I go all that often, what with the pricey ticket (I usually try to swing a twilight showing to maximize the old entertainment dollar). After all, who can resist beating the heat while being charmed by little yellow minions, et al.

Well, this has been nice.

Hey, later! I gotta go. I hear Godzilla calling my name…


* A one-time event which hasn’t exactly carried over but is nevertheless worth honorable mention: When I was about 11 there was a Friday night when it didn’t seem to cool off at all, so at 10:00 p.m., it was still probably 90 degrees in our bedrooms. Trying to fall asleep in pools of perspiration was proving utterly futile, when my dad took a notice to drag our mattresses out onto our large balcony style porch, affording us r-e-l-i-e-f. Now that was cool.



Fave Rave

September 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

A Friday list submitted for your consideration. Items are counted down in reverse order, a la David Letterman.

10. Escalators.

Back in the day, before shopping malls had been invented, department stores were located downtown in multi-storied buildings. Elevators, operated by attendants, would ferry shoppers between floors. Somewhere along the line they began installing these devices in stores, and they were way more fun to ride. (Now that I think about it, they really haven’t changed very much over the years.) I think it must have been  the adrenaline rush that came when getting on the contraption — I remember being nervous every single time — worried that I’d somehow miss the step and fall. And every time I got on without incident, I would exhale and enjoy the ride and a panoramic view of several levels of the store. Sort of like air travel and take-offs, nowadays.

9. The Sno-Cone truck.

I mean, the flavor selection alone! There must have been at least a dozen to choose from; I liked cherry a lot. That truck always managed to magically appear right when the weather was supremely hot and sticky, and those crushed ice treats never failed to refresh. But the paper cone would always lose its integrity before I finished, and then sticky syrup would leak from the very tip and run down my arm. Oh well, definitely worth the mess.

8. New streamers on my bicycle handlebar grips.

I honestly don’t remember who bought these — me? my parents? my brother? Regardless, when the weather warmed up and we got the bikes out of the garage, I would remove the beat up set and thread the new ones through the little vent on the handlebar grips and take off like the wind. A new set of streamers, just like a new pair of Keds, were always able to set you to flying.

7. Brand new Crayolas.

Enough said, right? The scent, the orderly rows, the pristine tips — I loved everything about them. Favorite color: periwinkle. Least favorite color name: burnt sienna. Least useful color: white. (What was that about? Teachers always handed out white art paper, coloring books were printed on white — a color that is never going to show up is just taking up space…)

6. Family sing-a-longs.

Seems like we used a sing-a-long book so we could follow the lyrics, but no instruments — just voices and improvised harmonies. Beer Barrel Polka, Side by Side, High Hopes, Tennessee Waltz — man, I know a bunch of oldies thanks to our Saturday night song fests. Fun, fun.

5. The Ed Sullivan Show.

I eagerly anticipated the new talent he discovered and featured weekly on his show. I was transfixed by Elvis, but my dad changed the channel. Bummer. Missed the Beatles, too; our TV must have been broken. Bummer, Part Two. I sure heard all about it at school the next day, though.

4. Saturday morning TV.

Howdy Doody, Tom Terrific, Mighty Mouse, The Lone Ranger, Rin-Tin-Tin, Sky King… I’ll bet Mom and Dad loved the children’s programming even more than we did; it meant they could sleep in until 10:00 or so.

3. Drive-in movies.

I would be in seventh heaven when Dad came home and said we were going to the drive-in. Mom would pack a picnic basket so we could eat during the show. We’d also throw in blankets and pillows so us kids could sack out whenever we started to get sleepy. Wouldn’t wake up until Dad started the car when the credits started rolling at the end of the show. Best ever drive-in movie night was a double feature: The Nutty Professor, with Fred McMurray, along with Don’t Eat the Daisies, with Doris Day, I believe.

2. Road trips.

Shorter day trips or extended vacations — didn’t matter; both were wonderful. Piling into the car and heading out on the open road, especially if it meant driving through the countryside and getting to see real live cows, was high adventure. Best of all was when Dad would speed up just before going over a small hill, so we kids could feel our “stomachs in our throats,” as we liked to call it.

1. Sitting in my dad’s lap.

As I thought about the one thing I experienced in childhood that gave me the best feeling of all, I was surprised to realize it was something as simple as that. But the reality is: there wasn’t an amusement park ride, a holiday tradition, a game, a toy, or activity that could match the feeling I got whenever my dad would invite me to sit in his lap. We had a generously proportioned upholstered maple rocker with wide arms, just perfect for dads and laps and kids. I would nestle into the crook of his arm, lay my head on his chest and bliss out. A lot of times we’d both end up falling asleep. Then I invariably woke up first and stayed very still while trying to figure out how to get up without waking him. Eventually, I’d slither out from under his arm without disturbing him too much and merrily scamper off to play, my little tank filled up.

The End.

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