Ice Cream

by Harry T. Roman


I remember still the taste of Dairy Queen ice cream. We always went to the one on the corner of Bloomfield and Mt. Prospect Avenues. That creamy, sugary, delicious, pumped ice cream elevated me several inches right off the pavement. It was just magic what they could with that stuff.

And as you leaned inside that little window waiting for your order, that delightful cold air would just flow out and nip at your skin. It was like placing an order inside a refrigerator.

Just think about those steamy Newark summer nights, you know the kind.......when the air was so heavy you could see blue haze. Maybe some heat lightning or honest to goodness thunder would be rumbling out a warning every now and then. That's when you headed for the cold stuff at the local Dairy Queen to grab a little evening comfort.

This was rather important because when you got back home there weren't any window air conditioners, just a few room fans and maybe a big exhaust fan somewhere in the living room or dining room for the whole house.

I simply adored those flavored toppings you could get on the cones....cherry, chocolate, and butterscotch. As soon as that warm air hit those stiff coatings, they would crack like an earthquake and out the ice cream would begin to ooze. That's when you put your "licker" into overdrive and made like the family dog.

Speaking of dogs, how many of you also took the dog along for a cold treat? C'mon, don't be bashful, raise your hand. Hey, they were part of the family.

Mom loved a cup of ice cream with some strawberry or pineapple topping. Dad could go either way with a cone or a large cup. Mom liked the sprinkles or jimmies too. And at DQ there were the round wafer cones, not the traditional pointed sugar cones. One advantage with the sugar cones was you could suck the ice cream through the point of the cone if the ice cream melted through.

Dad would also stop by the local luncheonette on those hot days and bring home some ice cream surprises like sundaes and or hard packed quarts of the delicious stuff. I remember those maple walnut sundaes quite well. Made you want to lick the container!

Or how about those Saturday or Sunday nights when Mom toasted up some waffles and put a brick of ice cream between them and you nibbled at the treat while staying up late to watch a special TV show or enjoy a visit from your cousins.

My Dad and I used to go ga-ga for those half orange, half vanilla cream-sicles. Remember those? I still love that combination today.

How about fudge-sicles, Eskimo Pies, Dixie Cups, and the ubiquitous nickel double ice pops? My favorite ice pop flavors were grape, root beer, blueberry, and cherry. How that paper wrapping stuck to the ice. All these treats were there at the local corner store, or from the ice cream vendors who roamed the streets. All you had to do was listen for the bells they rang on the truck. And lest I forget, there was lemon ice too, my favorite being Ting-a-Ling's, the world's best in my opinion.

How many of you out there actually turned the crank of an old-fashioned ice cream maker? Was it worth the effort?

Sometimes, we would head out to O’Dowd’s ice cream place up in Pine Brook for a sit down dessert treat. Remember how rural looking old Pine Brook seemed way back when? It’s all built up now with stores, commercial building, and houses and condos everywhere. Our daughter lives up that way. I remember the big tent auctions they would hold there every Sunday. We would do a little flea market shopping and then hit O’Dowd’s.

And then there was Bond’s in Montclair, home of the Awful, Awful ice cream milk shake challenge. Those folks knew how to pack a dish full of ice cream. Both O’Dowd’s and Bonds are gone now.

However, most of the times we enjoyed a Sunday outing, we seemed to end up at Applegate’s Dairy Farms in Upper Montclair for a smorgasbord of original home flavors. On hot summer nights, my wife and I still enjoy a tasty cold treat, reminiscing in the same parking lot. Just a few years ago, my niece Sarah “scooped her way through college” working there.

How I remember those steamy Newark summer nights licking ice cream and thinking how great we had it. I still cannot resist stopping at the few remaining Dairy Queens I find along the roads. Spotted one up on Route 10, out in Randolph. Mama and me will be hitting the joint as soon as it warms up. We both love the cold stuff.

Ice cream, what an invention! By the way, the ice cream cone was invented in New Jersey.


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