A long time former neighbor was turning 90, so his children planned a big party. My entire family traveled from points near and far to Ohio to help with the celebration. My sister, Sue, drove from North Carolina and I made the two-hour trek.

I drove up on Friday. The day was sunny. The display in my car showed the ambient temperature as 75º. I wore a long sleeve shirt, to protect my window-side arm from the sun. My windbreaker was thrown on the passenger seat since the forecast was for a continuation of the weather roller coaster the Midwest has been experiencing this winter.

The constantly changing weather — in northwest Ohio, in south central Ohio and in central North Carolina — was a topic of conversation.

Sue mentioned her early blooming flowers. I seconded that by mentioning the shoots sprouting from the soil on the campus where I work. Cathy, the non traveler, commented that even Mr. Freeze had opened early (February?).

Mr. Freeze!

Mr. Freeze is the soft ice cream place in the suburb where I lived for 20 years, 21 years ago. Heck with the calendar, it was the opening of Mr. Freeze that designated the start of spring.

I lived less than a mile from the confectioner, so a walking-the-dog often turned into a stop for ice cream. That dog just pulled us in that direction. We never complained.

The lines, especially on a hot day, were long, stretching into the too small parking lot.

The amount of ice cream in a baby cone would satisfy a family of kids. On one occasion, I witnessed a man from Fostoria (about one-hour south) receiving his medium-sized ice cream and exclaiming, “Wow! If the place in Fostoria gave this amount of ice cream, they’d go broke!”

During the weekend, the temperature plummeted. My jacket was necessary and others commented that it would not be warm enough for the wind and snow that had developed.

Sunday morning, I decided to fill my gas tank before hopping on the expressway for the ride to my present home. Because of highway improvements, I could not get to the gas station the way I did previously. My detour took me right past Mr. Freeze.

I looked at the temperature. It was 32º. Freezing. I’d been hankering for ice cream since before “Mr. Freeze” had originally been mentioned. Why not? When would I be back again. A tin roof (vanilla ice cream topped with Spanish peanuts and chocolate syrup) would be a comforting companion for the long ride home.

Sunday morning, in February, 11 15 a.m., 32 degrees. And I still stood in line! Granted there was only one family in front of me, but there were two mini lines.

I approached the window, asked for a tin roof and was asked, “What size?”

Seeing my bafflement, she placed three styrofoam cups on the counter — small (6 oz.) regular (16 oz.) and large (I have NO idea). I chose the regular.

Ah! Memories of my grandmother making us tin roofs and the chocolate covered ice cream kept me company from Perrysburg to Cygnet — the length of Wood County.

Yep. It was worth it.

Every.

Single.

Calorie.

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