JUL/ICE CREAM SUNDAY

July in America = ice cream….especially the 3rd Sunday in July. Why? Well, besides offering relief from the sweltering heat, ice cream has official status in July. The following revised article, which I first posted three years ago on “another network,” will explain:

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We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend, so we buy ice cream. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Former President Ronald Reagan may not have had Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wit, but in 1984 he did Emerson one better by proclaiming July NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH and the 3rd Sunday in July NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY. It is thus our patriotic duty this month (and doubly so on this day) to set calory-counting and weight-watching aside, yield to weak-ness, and celebrate like it’s 1984. Go ahead. Indulge. Now that you’re thinking about it, how can you resist that tempting pleaser in the freezer?

Vanilla? Chocolate? Mint? Peach? Chocolate chip? Whatever — as you savor the flavor of your favorite cold one (not counting beer) tickling your tonsils as it melts down your throat, here come some ice cream trivia to enlighten you as you add to your waistline:

Ice cream was introduced in the U.S. by Quaker colonists.
The ice cream cone was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when a concessionaire ran out of ice cream dishes, and pastries were hand-rolled to resemble a dish.
Children under 12 and adults over 45 consume the most ice cream per person.
Americans eat more ice cream than any other country in the world.
More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
Enjoy plain vanilla? You’re hardly alone — it’s still, by far, America’s most popular flavor.

Ice cream nostalgia time: I remember old-fashioned ice cream parlors with their marble countertops, small wrought iron round tables and armless wire chairs with round seats. I remember soda fountains in drug stores and 5 & 10 cent stores manned by ‘soda jerks’ in white. I remember Howard Johnson restaurants (with their 28 flavors) at service plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the 1940s; I remember Dairy Queens becoming popular in the 1950s; I remember sugar cones and root beer floats and The Good Humor Man and ice cream trucks plying neighborhood streets playing “Turkey In The Straw” or “The Entertainer,” drawing children like mystical Pied Pipers.

Some of the above still exist. In fact, I think I hear one of those Pied Pipers passing by the house right now. Excuse me while I run out and scream WAIT! WAIT FOR ME! Oh, no — he doesn’t hear me! Do something before he’s gone….