There was a good reason why Pops kept a padlock on the freezer. There was ice cream inside. A big, brown cardboard, 3-gallon tub filled with artificially-brown-flavored bliss.
I remember standing, starry-eyed right in the middle of the kitchen floor, watching my older brother with admiration and amazement, and a certain sense of apprehension, as he scooped this bliss into the blender, tossed in the powdered milk, and added tap water to taste.
Mmmm, the sound of it!
We younger siblings stood back a ways, stealing peeks now and again, like vultures waiting for whatever remains might, well, remain.
Little did we know that those sweet, swirling sounds would be heard, not only by our mouth-watering tongues, but by the ears we kids would later grow into as adults, the big ears of parents, detecting the all-too-quiet deeds of their offspring.
Besides, the cussing blender was whirring away at warp liquefy speed—a dead giveaway.
And, wouldn’t you know it, Pops had instantly appeared—I sensed him before I saw him. And, sure enough, as I craned my eyes at a diagonal upward glance, I saw him just standing there, grinning.
Why is Pops smiling like that?
He doesn’t look very happy.
In the instant it took me, inexperienced as I was when it came to defiant teenage discipline, to piece it all together, the blender had gone silent.
I looked to my brother, who’d just popped off the top and had tilted the glass back, who was patiently awaiting the thick, ice-creamy joy that was slowly descending toward his wide-open gullet.
I looked back up at Pops.
The funny grin was gone.
And, the next thing I know, that pure brown bliss had rained down on us, and was now streaming down the orange and avocado walls and cabinets, filthy tears weeping for my poor, bad brother.
I’d already lived long enough in those seven or eight short years to learn that it was times like this that made a kid want to skedaddle for safety, as fleeting as the sense of it was.
How does that milkshake taste now?
These were the only words Pops spoke. But his rage was heard loud and clear, all the way from the other side of the house.
Photo courtesy of blossom38 via eBay