August 02, 2004

Memory of summer

I was reflecting on summer this weekend. It was, by the way, a glorious Saturday. We had some friends come out from the City and we whisked them away to the beach and the kiddie pool. The weather was perfect, the rum punch from the bar was sublime, the water was warm and free from jellyfish, the children made sand castles and hunted for the prettiest mussel shells, and the young women in their bikinis were as attractive as they were unattainable. Actually, the young women made me feel tired just by looking at them -- that's how I know I am getting old, they are no longer objects of desire! It was really as close to a perfect day as I have passed this summer.

But it got me to thinking about childhood summers past and those summers past included, without fail, a trip to one of the last old fashioned soda fountains in the county. It was in a pharmacy on Main Street and it was a long gleaming counter with round stools which spun around. It was always cool in there without being cold. And there were polished chrome things everywhere you looked behind the counter. I would order the same thing every time -- the root beer float, perhaps one of the most felicitous combinations every dreamt up, even better than peanut butter and chocolate. By the time I was old enough to go there, there was no soda jerk anymore, just the elderly pharmacist. He would come over and take our orders. Then I would watch him squirt the syrup into the glass and mix it with soda water. The ice cream would come next and I'd get a long spoon and a straw. The glass itself was tall and fit into a special metal glass holder contraption and the condensation would bead on the glass and the metal would get very cold. It was special because I went with my father, just him and me and because the making of the float seemed to be conducted with such special ceremony in a hushed place.

The pharmacy closed eventually, I don't remember when exactly. But I do miss it still. I'd like to take my children to one. If I hit the road with them, I'll see if I can swing by any of these recommendations. Or, if I get to Kansas, they have a statewide list.

Posted by Random Penseur at August 2, 2004 08:35 AM

I miss those old soda fountains! I also miss the drive-in restaraunts where the waitress comes out to take your order and serves it on a tray clipped to your car door. Why did those things ever disappear?!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 2, 2004 11:31 AM

I echo the business on how you know when you're getting older. There are several real babes who go to our church who are actresses (I live next to Hollywood). For the past 4-5 years, I think (a) wow, what a babe, and (b) you wouldn't even know what do do with her if . . .

Posted by: John Bruce at August 2, 2004 07:52 PM
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