Tonight, my friend Tracy has inspired me to do a little blogging on the fly. She had a little post on facebook that read, "I wish I could eat as much ice cream as I want." That's all it took to inspire me to sit down and blog about one of my favorite subjects: Ice Cream. Rocky Road to be precise.
You see, I cannot speak of ice cream without thinking of my Dad. The man loved his ice cream. I often laughingly told him that he had ruined all of us kids for ice cream outside our home. When we were young, he would offer us ice cream and then would serve us up cereal sized bowls, brimming with multiple scoops for a little after dinner snack. We're talking super-sized before it was fashionable. We didn't realize it at the time, but we were probably taking in a day's worth of calories in a single sitting.
I remember on more than one occasion, as a kid, being offered ice cream at someone else's house and being sorely disappointed at the portion size. The offering would usually be a meager little single scoop. As the child of Ray Matthis, I would look at it in silent amazement, always polite and appreciative but the voices in my head were screaming, "ARE YOU KIDDING, ME? ONE SCOOP? SERIOUSLY???" And then, finally, I'd think, "why bother???"
When my dad was in the hospital, at the end of his life, we spent long days with him. The last week or so, we'd leave the hospital, usually after midnight to go home and get a few hours of sleep before heading back up to be with him. As we'd drive home on empty streets, often, as if magnetized, our car would end up at Millie's Coffee Shop. Before we knew what was happening, a waitress would be placing hot fudge sundaes in front of us. One each. We NEVER share ice cream. We would tell ourselves, with wry little smiles, "Dad would want us to do this." It was true.
When he was gone, when his memorial service was over and when the last guest had left the church, a small group of family members headed back to the house. I picked up pizza and 2 gallons of Rocky Road Ice Cream on the way home, to fortify the troops. There was little interest in the pizza, but before the night was over, every scoop of ice cream was consumed. I shared with those who didn't know, how integral ice cream was to our formative years and how Dad loved it and made us love it, too. When a bowl was empty, it was time for a refill-as if we were all bellyed up to the bar and we kept ordering another round. We did it for Dad, in honor of the wonderful gift of ice cream and in memory of the many times in our lives that we had enjoyed it with him.
Now I'm sharing the love with Ruby. His first great-grandchild, she was born shortly after Dad died. At two years of age, she already has a great appreciation for ice cream. Generally a McDonald's soft serve cone, and generally not massive quantities, but, I take great joy in telling her, "Poppa Ray loved ice cream, too!"
From here to eternity, I will think of Dad when I eat ice cream, celebrating him and the love of it we shared.
There's no doubt in my mind what our first meal with him in heaven will be. Massive quanities of ice cream! Hopefully, our heavenly bodies will be fat free, but, the ice cream will be the real thing!