By Barbara Parent
The first time the grandkids made ice cream at Cross Lake they were very young.
It was a time when the four of them, wide-eyed, paid attention to their Meme, excited to hear me say, “Let’s do it, it’ll be a camp memory.”
That was in 2007, before Laura and Danny were born. I think back to that first attempt at making ice cream and wonder if I had waited another six or seven years there would have been two more hands to roll the coffee can back and forth to one another on the deck thus having the entire business less tiring.
Yet, how was I to know what the future held and truthfully, even I realize that Matt, Brady, Katie and Jake would be of an age when they would not clamor to be a part of that particular, “Let’s do it, it’ll be a camp memory.”
Looking back over the many summers our family spent together at Cross Lake, “Let’s do it, it’ll be a camp memory,” has surfaced.
Did the kids know what they were enthusiastically jumping up and down and agreeing to? Not usually, yet bless their darling hearts they went along with all of it never backing down once I told them what I had in mind.
These “suggestions” mind you weren’t dangerous. What grandmother would put her grandchildren in harm’s way.
For instance, a leisurely ride to Dickey Brook in the pedal boat. Matt and I, working the pedals, Brady and Katie in the seats behind us, our picnic lunch on Katie’s lap. Oh, and Jake, the youngest, in the rear in the cooler. Not an ice chest type, just molded plastic with a lid that was kept open.
The thought of Jake in such a compact space is especially comical now that the 20-year-old Florida State junior is 6’2” and the memory shared this summer with his girlfriend, Logan.
When families vacation together, whether at a beach cottage or a lake camp, an all inclusive resort, a dude ranch in the middle of Montana, on a luxury liner sea cruise or a paddleboat down the Mississippi, the memories are the meat and potatoes that will be passed on through generations.
Homemade ice cream resurfaced this summer.
Unlike 2007, the ingredients were not mixed and placed in a 13- ounce coffee can and rolled back and forth among the four grandchildren for what seemed like hours. If I should call one of them and ask if all the effort resulted in ice cream, the reply would be a flat, “No, Meme, it did not.” But the experience was never forgotten.
Matt took the challenge this summer. Started from scratch, prepped and whipped it all and put the finished product in the freezer to set. Later, over bowls of ice cream as smooth as mousse, high fives were extended to Matt, now official ice cream maker.
The money spent on the ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, natural cocoa powder, heavy cream and pure vanilla extract, (did we really need the $7 bottle for one teaspoon), would have covered pints of Haagen-Dazs to feed everyone.
But then would it have become a summer of 2013 camp memory to last a lifetime?