Scrapbook Memories

Would you believe that a time ago, hot dogs were one dollar and coca-colas
were twenty-five cents? I was once again a child, with my hair tied into pigtails
that bounced whenever I jumped or ran. With my pink T-shirt, yellow shorts,
and plastic sandals, I ran about in the summer heat catching the rays of the
sun whilst sprinting through lawn sprinklers that watered the freshly cut
grass.

One sunny day, after a tiresome afternoon of pure play, my childhood friends
and I went to a nearby tree. We sat beneath the big branches that shaded us
from the scorching coming from beams of sunshine. I heard the gentle breeze,
which whispered through the leaves and through the dancing willows in the
bubbling brook beyond the woods. As I sat in the comforting shade, I saw that
the whole world was lazy, like us. The adults were on their porches gossiping
away while sipping their iced lemonades. Other children held paper fans folded
in haste by their swift fingers as they played hopscotch and sang skipping
rope rhymes.

A ringing of bells unexpectedly cut into the summer air, which was filled
with the warmth of joyous laughter. The faint ‘ding-a-ling, ding-ding’ drew
distinctively nearer. To satisfy my curiosity, I squinted past the bright
sun and saw the silhouette of a boy, not much older than us, riding a bicycle
down our street. Behold! What was that he had trailing behind him? At that
instant, we all knew. Every one of us dashed from under the tree to our parents,
who were engrossed in their conversations under the porch, to plead for seventy-five
cents. Interrupting their conversations, I tugged on my father’s shirt and
looked at my mother, asking them if they would be willing to give me my allowance
a week early. I knew I would have to sacrifice whatever sweets I would be
able to buy with that money, but it would most definitely be worthwhile.

I knew what I wanted. Along with the rest of them, I ran to the bicycle with
my sandals chanting ‘flap-flop-flap-flop’ as it hit the pavement with each
step. I patiently waited for my turn as five children lined up in front of
me. Finally, after standing for what seemed like eternity, I did not hesitate
to give up every penny for what would relieve and refresh me from the heat.
Of course I chose my favourite flavour, strawberry. I had always loved the
heavenly taste of sweet strawberries, in a mouthful of cool ice cream, with
a bite of the crisp waffle cone. Uh-oh, what did the boy say? There was no
more left! I hung my head with disappointment and began to walk away. With
much effort on his part however, presumably after feeling sorry for me, he
was able to gather enough for one last scoop. With my priceless treasure in
hand, I hastily licked the sides of the cone just as a hint of strawberry
ice cream began to melt. I could not allow it to drip onto the sidewalk and
watch it disappear; I needed to savour every taste!

As I slowly walked back into the shade, my eyes were fixed on the waffle
cone to ensure that the ice cream would not melt in front of me. The boy,
who sold us the ice cream, had now gone to another street with his ‘ring-a-ling’
fading into the distance. I climbed the tree trunk and sat in the lowest branch
with one hand holding onto the waffle cone, and the other, pulling myself
up and keeping myself steady. I could finally begin to fully enjoy my ice
cream cone without having to worry about the dreaded enemy, the heat of the
sun. With my feet swinging from the branches, I carefully brought the yummy
treat to the corner of my mouth.

To my utter disbelief, with the first lick at the centre of the strawberry
ice cream, the scoop of ice cream fell out of the cone it rested on, and dropped
from the tree onto the grass below. Instantly, the grass greedily gulped the
melted puddle. With my eyes wide, I was left staring at my hand holding a
waffle cone with a big gaping hole in the middle. Realizing what had just
happened, I sat there weeping my eyes out at the tragic loss. My heart broke
in two for my beloved sunshine had melted my cherished ice cream; it had become
my childhood foe.

(Winter 2000)

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