Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Best Ice Cream Named After A Superhero

Back when Sweetie and I lived in a duplex and had only one car and the Babies! were not born yet, back when we were poorer than we are now, one day, Sweetie was out with Oldest and had the car. We only had the one car, then. My relatives and friends thought that I was rich because I'm a lawyer, but I'm the kind of lawyer who would be unhappy being at the firm at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday night. I'm not those guys who kept screwing over Michael Clayton. I'm the kind of lawyer who wants to be home having dinner with my family at night. The kind of lawyer who is not rich.

So The Boy and Middle were home with me, and we were just hanging out when on the spur of the moment, I grabbed some change and we caught a bus to downtown, where we walked over to an ice cream shop and got a couple of double-scoop cones. The trip involved changing buses at one point and took over 2 hours. But we made it there, we walked down the local shopping-district street, and we got our ice cream cones. We sat on a bench, enjoying the sights and enjoying our cones, then took the bus back home, using up the last of my spare change -- and the last of my spending money for the week.

Only one ice cream could make me make that trip and blow the last of my little money at the time: Superman Ice Cream.

I can't describe the flavor of Superman Ice Cream. We discovered it, at that shop, about a year before that bus trip and would go, whenever we had a little extra money, to that shop to get some Superman Ice Cream cones. The ice cream itself was Superman-colors, red, yellow, and blue, and had a taste that we compared, at times, to "vanilla and cotton candy" to "some kind of berry," to "fruit, maybe," but we could never quite pin it down.

(A sour-grapes employee, the kind of person who works in an ice cream shop but only grudgingly because she's an artist, you can tell by the pierced nose and she wouldn't have to work here if people would just get her art, tried to tell us it was just vanilla with food coloring added, but we all agreed that it was not vanilla and that she sucked.)

The flavor, whatever it is, is really really good, and you can tell it is because I like Superman Ice Cream even though Superman Ice Cream has nothing of the kinds of things I usually require from my ice cream, i.e., lots of other stuff mixed in, lots of nuts and caramel and fudge and cookies and dough. Superman doesn't have any of that. But it does have its indescribable flavor and the neat look of the ice cream itself. And, of course, it's named after Superman, so it has quite an image right up front (and that's how I could squeeze in another ice cream category, when I've already picked the best store bought ice cream.)

But beyond the flavor, there was another reason, I think, that I liked Superman Ice Cream so much, and that was because it was such a treat. Like I said, we were poorer then. Three kids and a new job added up to "not much money left over," so a trip to the Superman Ice Cream shop was a real treat, and that added sweetness to it.

Nowadays, we have more than one car. We don't live in the duplex. We're doing better, financially, and don't have to save up to get some ice cream cones. We still go from time to time to get a cone, and you can get "Superman Ice Cream" in the store. Like I did recently, at which point I discovered that "Superman Ice Cream" still had that indescribable flavor, and which still tasted a little like fruit, a little like vanilla, a little like cotton candy -- and a lot like the memories of a time, not so long ago, that "Superman Ice Cream" was not only a new, unique taste, but a rarely-enjoyed treat.

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