did you know that there is this fantastic thing going on at rite aid, where you can get a double scoop of thrifty ice cream for 99 cents? it is real. i went there yesterday evening after a hot, dizzying after-work drive around town to check out potential apartments, and it was just the thing.
that’s a scoop of chocolate brownie (my first time trying it) plunked on top of a scoop of strawberry (…i’ve lost count by now).
thrifty ice cream has a very secure place in my southern california childhood. there was one summer i would go there nearly every week after my dad picked me up from my evening art class. by the time i climbed out of the car, the night sky would have turned dark and the air finally cool. i would follow my dad into the brightly lit drugstore, flip-flop sandals slapping the floor, and stand before the ice cream freezer to order – without fail – either a scoop of strawberry, mint ‘n‘ chip, or rainbow sherbet. and my dad – almost as predictably – would pull out his green plastic coin purse, those keychain ones you find at souvenir stores that split open like a baked potato when you pinch the ends, and he would pay entirely with change.
one night, when he was slowly counting out the coins and the cashier was standing patiently by and waiting, my embarrassment became palpable. my dad noticed and turned to me and said something like, ‘you know, one day, when you are older, you will remember how daddy used to always pay for your ice cream with pennies.’ i would laugh about it, he implied, instead of fidgeting and scowling. i would look back with fondness.
well, daddy was right. there are all sorts of ways i have grown up since that summer night, but one lick of strawberry, and i return to innocence (that’s a song, isn’t it) and to the tenderness of that moment. so hey, for 99 cents a pop this week, i’m going to revisit my childhood as many times as i can.