One Last Cone

The shop was every kids’ dream and my nightmare–shelves lined the store filled with high fructose corn syrup and red #40, jelly beans of every variety and gummy worms covered in sugar crystals. Children could grab the scoop and fill their bags with the colors of the rainbow, sweet enough to bring instant smiles to their faces and impressive temper tantrums when the high wore off an hour later. The front glass case revealed slices of red velvet cake big enough for three people, and they displayed how beautiful chocolate covered pretzels could really look.

But our interests were around the side of that case. Ice cream containers full of traditional flavors and creative mixes filled the tubs while cones dipped in chocolate and sprinkles above our heads enticed my children. The challenge was deciding what flavor to choose while ensuring the kids didn’t steal a piece of candy during the process.

This shop was where we came for ice cream. We came in the summer for a cool dessert, rocked in the yellow chairs outside the store while licking the ice cream melting down our wrists. If Grammy was around, we’d visit after dinner at the pizza restaurant down the strip, her treat to her spoiled grandkids. We were known to make an appearance after T-ball games, celebrating a win one season, and consoling many losses the next. And I had even passed through the drive-thru once, bringing smiles to my home. No matter the time of year, we visited, and we were always satisfied.

This past weekend, we visited for the last time. I pulled open the door with the sign that read “EVERYTHING HALF OFF, CASH ONLY” and looked around at the store. The shelves with the novelty candies were sparsly filled, and the display case that once housed huge cakes was empty. And as we made our way around to the tubs of ice cream, our choices were limited. Vanilla, coffee, and peanut butter-chocolate chip filled our cones and cups.

I looked at our kids’ smiling faces, but the sadness in the air was palpable. I listened as the customer before us offered an “I’m sorry you’re closing. We’re going to miss you,” and I almost felt guilty as I ate my reduced-price ice cream, thinking that I really should pay double.

I don’t know why they were closing their doors that night, but, in this economy, I can only imagine. And that night, as I looked at Matt and my kids sitting around that booth, I was surprised at how affected I was by this loss. Perhaps the empty shelves got me. Maybe it was sympathy for the owners who obviously put much care and effort into their store and now were watching their dream come to an end. Or maybe it was the memories…

…memories of threatening to throw away their ice cream if they ever snuck a piece of candy again, memories of messes so big that only a bath could help, memories of being together….

It was probably all of the above. One thing’s for sure, though; that store that I thought was my nightmare…I’m really going to miss.

One thought on “One Last Cone

  1. It won't be the same without "SCOOPS." It was the kind of ice cream shop that always took me down memory lane. I feel so bad for the owners, unless it was their choice to close, which i doubt. Life goes on, but, ice cream always makes it better. 😦


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