Across the street from where I grew up was Trudy and Owen Frame’s little café and ice cream store, the White Spot. I remember one hot summer day my cousin and I decided to find out just how compassionate the proprietors might be toward two overheated and underfunded little street urchins. We feigned being hot and miserable as we paraded in front of the ice cream dispensing establishment. It wasn’t long until Mr. Frame came to the walk-up window and motioned us over. He handed each of us a soft-serve ice cream cone—the elixir of the gods. It totally cured our heat exhaustion.
Even though we lived within the Salt Lake City limits, we had a little acreage that was devoted to one little registered jersey cow by the name of Sourdough Bessie Creampot. Because of my father’s work schedule, milking the cow usually fell to my mother. Milking was done by hand and as a result, Mom had very strong hands. When there was a stuck lid to get off a bottle it was handed, not to my dad but to my mom, who was always able to twist it off right away.
Because we always had lots of fresh cream, the making of homemade ice cream was the highlight of many a family get-together. The fact that it had to be churned and frozen by hand added to its value. The longer we had to crank on that handle, the better it tasted at the end. Some of that cream also went into the making of butter which also required churning by hand. I suppose that is where my folks acquired the taste for buttermilk.
When Boyd, my oldest brother, was to be married we were on our way to Los Angeles to the wedding. We stopped in St. George, Utah, at a restaurant where my Dad ordered liver and onions and buttermilk. Boyd got up and moved to another table. “I won’t eat at the same table with somebody who would order that stuff!” he declared with mock disdain.
One day my mother set my little brother, Dale, on the kitchen counter while she strained the morning’s milk and poured it into bottles. He was probably two years old at the time. He slipped off the counter and fell head first into the milk bucket. You never saw such a shiner in your life! His cheek swelled up and turned shiny purple and he could barely see out of one swollen eye. If there had been Child Protective Services back then they most likely would have taken him away never to be seen of us again. Dale is 64 years old now and we still remind him about his feeble attempt to high dive into the milk bucket.
When I was a freshman at BYU I had to have my wisdom teeth surgically removed. Boyd and his wife had moved into our old homestead across the street from the White Spot and they offered me temporary lodging while I recovered. I was placed on a strict soft diet for a couple of days while stitches healed. I not only survived but thrived on chocolate marshmallow ice cream malts from the White Spot. It was tough but it had to be done.
While serving as a missionary in South America I went into withdrawal during the winter months. The locals believed that if you ate something cold when the weather was cold you would get sick. (That was almost as bad as not being able to find Mexican salsa in the stores.)
My wife recently underwent surgery. Not wanting to be fussed over, she told very few people that she was going into the hospital. When she got home, a good friend of hers, Carolyn Gipson from her ranch over Johnson City way, showed up on the doorstep. “I brought you supper,” she declared as she handed over a tub of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Not ten minutes before Carolyn arrived, my wife had asked me if we had any ice cream. Some folks talk about “southern comfort.” Well, ice cream has to be the epitome of southern comfort—or any comfort for that matter.
The first weekend of August each year, my wife’s family celebrates a family reunion on the banks of the Blanco River. If you ask the participants what they remember most about those gatherings they are most likely to say, “Swimming in the cool river,” and “The homemade ice cream on Saturday afternoon.” I think those answers are influenced by the 100 degree August weather. But even without that, ice cream is always a welcome addition to any gathering. There is only one concern: vanilla is good but chocolate is better. Don’t let the kids or grandkids get to it before you do!