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Snow Ice Cream

snow falling in a park with the park path covered in snow

The anticipation began early in the winter when the trees were stark and the sky was filled with gray and rolling clouds covering any ray of sunlight and threatening to burst at any moment. It was an ugly time. The brilliant colors of October were becoming a distant memory and the bright green buds of spring couldn’t even be imagined in my little-child mind. The darkness and dreariness pressed in against me and I didn’t want to do anything except curl up in bed with my cat and a book and dream the drab days away.

But, then I remembered, as I saw Grandpa bustling about and gathering his ingredients as he whistled and banged pots and pans in the kitchen. There was spring in his step and he became almost jolly. He always reminded me of Santa Claus around this time of the year and since his birthday was Christmas Eve there was something mystical and spiritual about his being here with us. He was my favorite and I was his. I could hardly wait to be part of his winter routine.

It would happen soon I knew. Yesterday there was an anemic attempt of snow. It wasn’t much, but a few flakes that fell from the sky and tried to accumulate with very little success could be counted as the first snow. I didn’t ask Grandpa, but I was sure he would agree. One morning I would waken to the sight from my window of the second snow covering the ground around our house in all its glory and splendor. It I were lucky the flakes would still be falling as I hurriedly dressed and ran downstairs to find Grandpa drinking coffee at the kitchen table with his coat and a milk pail ready at the back door. He would greet me with a wink and a smile and help me struggle into my winter gear, making sure I didn’t forget my scarf and mittens, and we would be off to begin our special adventure.

It had to be the second snow that brought this wondrous joy and fun. The crisp sight and taste of winter love and warmth in my heart filled the cold brisk morning. Grandpa always waited for the second snow to make his snow ice cream and treat us to the blessing from above. I always thought he and God conspired to make everything just perfect for me to begin my official start of winter.

I skipped by his side, kicking snow bunnies in front of me and trying to catch flakes on my tongue while keeping step with his long strides. Bonnie and Joe raced ahead in wild doggy exuberance, burying their noses in the drifts, bouncing and leaping to outdo each other as they scampered along. Grandpa swung his pail up onto the lid of the water well and scooped great handfuls of the beautiful ingredient for the most delicious dessert of my childhood.

Later we enjoyed it together as we watched more of the miracle snow fall from the sky. We knew there would be more snow ice cream, but none as marvelous as this. We shared with the rest of the family, but I always got the first spoonful, and then Grandpa the second. We smiled as it melted in our mouths. Grandpa winked, so like Santa, and I snuggled close to him and took another bite. Now I could anticipate Christmas Eve and maybe more snow ice cream to celebrate the mysterious day.

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