I've never been one to stash pints of ice cream in the freezer. I'd much rather visit the neighborhood shop, whether it'd be for a DQ Crunch Coat cone after a Little League game as a kid or a raspberry cheesecake avalanche from Cone Zone and Grill in West Park today. Maybe that's because for many of us, ice cream isn't just ice cream. It connects us to summers past, first dates and life's simple, melty pleasures. I love what artisanal makers such as Mason's Creamery are doing (try its Cleveland Whiskey and vegan lemon ginger flavor), but it's all the memories frozen in each scoop that matter more. Here are a few of my favorites.
❎ My mom always ordered pistachio. It seems like a weird thing for a kid to like, but that was my go-to flavor.
❎ My grandmother served us sherbet, which is not what a kid hopes for after dinner.
❎ It seemed like every cute girl in high school worked at an ice cream shop.
❎ Growing up, that place was Webb's Ice Cream in Hubbard. The owner even grew some of the berries for the ice cream in his backyard. Sure, the ice cream was great, but as we got older, that's not why we hung out there.
❎ My wife spent a summer working at Cedar Point as a manager of the ice cream parlor in Frontier Village. It was the same year the Snake River Falls water ride opened, so lots of people paid with soaking wet money.
❎ As a baseball or softball coach, you have to understand that the postgame cone is the thing they'll actually remember.
❎ It makes every victory sweeter and every defeat a little less bitter. Plus, sprinkles.
❎ It's almost impossible to resist when your teenage daughter asks, "Hey, Dad, how about some ice cream?"
❎ They only take cash or check at Fenik's Frozen Custard in Avon Lake. But if you forget, they'll let you eat first and then run to the ATM just down the street.
❎ For a couple years, we lived in the apartments next to Weber's Premium Custard and Ice Cream in Fairview Park. I always liked the fall flavors best, right at the end of the season, the ones that kept you going through winter.