Pap has a specific ice cream spot at Indiana State Fair, it’s right off the Midway. They make their own waffle cones, they hand-dip the ice cream and they put a malt ball on the bottom of the cone, “Just like when I was a kid,” he’d say.
The tricky part: They closed earlier and opened later than most vendors. For the whole week, he’d say “After this, I’m going to go get me a cone of that ice cream.” The week was so busy every day got away from him. He wanted that cone so much I’m pretty sure he dreamt about it.
So, after struggling through the heat, the hectic schedule and the everything-else, he finally found his spot in line at the ice cream stand. And, boy, was he ready. Money in hand. Smile on face.
“I’ll have three dips of peach ice cream in a waffle cone,” he said as he rocked back on his heels in delight before forking over six bucks.
There it was, beaming through the fluorescent light of a traveling food stand. He took a few steps – right to the center of the midway – and that is where “The Year of the Ice Cream” was born.
As he took a bite, the handmade cone collapsed. His ice cream dove into a mass of popcorn kernels and elephant ear dustings, right before that little malt ball – rubbing salt into the now-gaping wound – also fell to the ground and rolled off.
This is the moment, my Pap rolled off. The cuss words started, the stomps erupted and before we knew it we were witnessing a grown man, typically kind and remotely calm – until moments like this, in a full-blown tantrum. He jumped on the ice cream, he stomped it, he used more than a few choice words. To say he exclaimed foul words at the fallen ice cream would be a tremendous understatement.