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My Summer Steps

I have sugar cones in my house. I did not buy them because I am not particularity fond of them. But I remember always wanting one every time I was out for ice cream as a child. My Mother never bought sugar cones, either.
My house felt packed. Three adults and three kids running inside, then outside.
And I got to thinking ice cream sugar cones would be a fabulous treat. We could eat them on the steps. Where everyone would be outside. On my steps.
So, us adults start the line. Amber is the collector. I am the scooper. I let Aunt Cindy receive the excited thank yous and smiles of the children. She misses her own kid today.
The ice cream is hard, coming from the deep freeze. I dig in with my scooping anyway, using hot water freely. I find myself annoyed by the fifth cone. I have wet ice cream sticking down to my wrists.
My son is almost done his cone by the time we are all sitting on the steps and this annoys me further. So much for my perfect little picture of laughing, smiling, ice cream-eating people on a porch.
A child has spread a green blanket on the front lawn. Let's sit there, I announce to everyone. It's my house, so of course, everyone agrees.
I am still bummed out, but the ice cream does taste good.
Did I mention these are cheap sugar cones?
The cone gets soggy and I can feel myself start to smile. The cone was always soggy when you were a kid by the time you got to it. Adults just eat cleaner and faster.
I tell everyone.
Which leads into music from the eighties and we start to sing, just as a neighbor and her son show up. Amber can never hit the tune right, so it is a guessing game guessing her songs. Cindy and I laugh at her. The kids think this is boring, so we break out in Disney Songs and a loud rendition of the Scooby-Doo theme song.
Which leads into "Down By The Bay." Most of the kids are not good enough for this game yet. It makes me remember...

...the chilly night out on the sands of the trailer park. By a large body of man-made water. The lights from the trailer burned brightly 50 yards from us. The sky was pitch black, the stars bright and my father had made a bonfire. Of course there was marshmallows, the only reason to even start a fire while children are still awake.
There were four kids and two adults, and it seems we sang that song for hours...

And I wonder now how my father had put up with it so long. It is annoying by the third verse. I make sure all eight people get two turns, before I say ick.
My daughter demands a game of charades. I would never choose this game.
The kids are easy.
Old man.
Amber gets up at her turn and start parading around, little finger flutters, tiny steps. Then she stops and itches her crotch.
Everyone is quiet. And staring.
She rolls her eyes and throws up her hands. "I am a transvestite."
The adults start to laugh. We laugh hard, on the verge of tears.
My daughter waits until the laughter ebbs. "Mom, I am 9. I know what that is," she says.
The laughter starts again, this time we are wiping our eyes.
The kids, suddenly bored of us, run off into the backyard.


jakethelad said…
We say scratches, you say itches .. what the hell. You say tomato we say tomato. Funny, funny, it made me laught out loud! Four in the afternoon, however, almost made me cry.
Jake in Australia!
Esther said…
it's sometimes surprising how everyday tasks can bring back almost totally unrelated memories
Jennifer said…
Oh Queenie :) That was an amazing post. It brought back so many memories. I really enjoy these happy posts as to the sad ones that make me want to strangle Tommy's mother ;)
The Writer said…
Great posting as usual, Queenie. I love the nine-year-old retort on the game. Brought back some wonderful memories from before the "times of despondency" as we've coined them. Lol.

Always a pleasure to read your work.
phoebe said…
loved this, Queenie.
AJ said…
...sugar cones RULE.
...thank you for that memory of your father.
...and is it really at all surprising that your daughter would share your unique powers of observation? I mean, you know Mom, she is 9 — and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Inanna said…
YEAH! SUGAR CONES RULE!! Thanks for the memories.
Dave said…
I could see your painting as I read this. And then hear the laughter, feel the grass and the blanket, smell the warmed ice cream on your hands, and taste the sogginess. i think it is time for you to contact a publisher.
Queenie said…
Not yet.


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