When I was a kid I used to wish I could have ice cream for dinner. Or ice cream as a side dish. Or ice cream as an appetizer. When my parents started working more and leaving us to fend for ourselves in the summer time, we would occasionally (read every time ice cream was available) have ice cream for lunch. My sister would stir up her ice cream until the chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream would be sort of a thick ice cream soup. I tried that, but usually was too anxious to wait for the right texture and I would half heartedly stir it around until I couldn’t take the wait any more and eat it so fast my ice cream headaches were more like blasts of blinding pain that had me laying on the Mexican tile floor in agony until they passed and I could stumble back to the kitchen counter and do it all over again. There was one summer where we discovered how to make ’shakes’. That was a good summer. Here’s how you make shakes. Ice cream. Liberal dose of chocolate syrup (only Hershey’s will do) and milk. Blend. Drink. That’s right, we discovered the easiest fucking thing in the world, and we thought we were geniuses.
So between the ice cream, the bean burritos with tabasco chasers, and the Top Ramen, we had a spectacularly healthy diet. Toss in soap operas, re-runs of I Love Lucy, Hogan’s Heroes, M.A.S.H., and The Andy Griffith Show, not only were we eating right, but we were learning about life and how funny war can be, how dangerous it is to tell someone not to do something (LUCY!), that your sister might be your long-lost cousin’s mother (what?) and that The Andy Griffith Show is a really fucking annoying show that has a theme song that makes you want to stab your ears out with dull pencils. Who can blame us for sitting inside all day? This was Arizona, 60SPF sunscreen required, in addition to doping yourself up with enough Benadryl to make the world seem all slow motion and sleepy made going outside a death wish. Sure we read a lot. I still, to this day, cannot believe my mom would buy us Jude Deveraux novels, and let’s not forget the Jean M. Auel incident wherein mom decided to see what Tavia was really reading and she flipped to a random page in Valley of the Horses and was pummeled with penis and vagina imagery in addition to the cave people signal for let’s do it. Just typing ‘Valley of the Horses’ makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong.
So last night as I ate my Ben and Jerry’s for dinner, I thought about how those tiny containers of ice cream would have seemed like a waste of time back in the day. How ice cream for dinner was forbidden but ice cream for lunch - NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW! How there will never again be a time where my sister and I can sit on the beige rug with a makeshift tent keeping the light coming through our ridiculously large windows from hitting the television screen while listening for the DING! of the microwave. How I miss those lazy summer days learning reading naughty novels about time travelling knights, and rebellious princesses. How my sister and I would put on the Flashdance soundtrack and do the dances in our pajamas at 2pm. How we thought that we would have that house forever and that maybe one day our parents would install blinds. How cool growing up was supposed to be, especially because we would get to have CABLE.
And how that last week of summer vacation always came too soon but knowing that next year, next year would be even better, and never realizing that one year, there wouldn’t be a next year and summer vacation would be a weekend trip to a beach house an hour away without romance novels, black and white re-runs and my sister.