Lifestyle

FAITHFUL LIVING: Unlike ice cream, God's love lasts for eternity

It all started July 4 when our friend Darrell graciously shared his homemade ice cream with my family members and me.

It is a traditional dessert he makes for his family and friends each year as summer begins in earnest here in Western Washington and Darrell went all out this year. There was vanilla, strawberry AND peach to choose from. As I grabbed a scoop and shoveled a sampling of each into my bowl, I realized it had been years since I had eaten, much less produced, a batch of my own. As a matter of fact, I had even hauled the old ice cream maker we received as a wedding gift to the thrift store, thinking that the days of making homemade ice cream had come and gone.

That was before I tasted Darrell’s peach ice cream. And even though we had just returned that night from watching the public fireworks display at the beach and felt positively frozen to the bone, every bite reminded me of why I love summer and how truly lovely it is to take the time to make ice cream for the people you love and care for.

The vanilla, in particular, struck a deep sentimental chord within me, perhaps because I looked into the eyes of my dad, who is the all time ice cream lover and had weathered the breezy coastline to take in the fireworks with us. Standing there with a sweatshirt hood covering his white hair and a heavy all-weather jacket he uses when coaching high school cross country and track athletes, I was able to look beyond the cane he uses to help him balance on legs affected by post-polio syndrome. I was also able to step away from my own middle-aged physique and mentally return to a day decades ago when we were having a family party and my mother had taken the time to cook a pudding-like base for homemade vanilla ice cream.

I could not recall the celebration, but I distinctly remember Mom pouring the cooled base into the ice cream can before adding two quarts of fresh cream. The dasher that we carefully lowered into the mixture was made of metal and the entire ice cream maker was man-powered. After dad layered crushed ice and rock salt around the can, he placed a piece of waxed paper on top of the drive before adding a heavy blanket and then me. Next he pulled up a chair and began turning the crank. Only when it became impossible to move and my own weight did not provide helpful leverage did we stop, pull out the dasher, and pack it for an hour or two to harden before serving. I recall hurrying that dasher into the kitchen and setting it in the sink, where Mom allowed me to clean it up with a spoon. It was my first experience with soft-serve ice cream and I love that texture best even now.

On that day I recall looking down on my own little girl legs and the summer sandals we had purchased downtown at Gooden’s shoe store. I recall watching my dad’s slender shoulders and a head covered with dark hair as he cranked. He had spent the morning building a brick wall out back and had not shaved that day. But I did not mind the stubble, because that was my daddy and I loved his whisker rubs, even though I loudly protested.

When I reached the strawberry layer, sweetened by hand-picked Whidbey Island berries, I startled with my vision of today. Gone are my little girl legs and my dad’s dark head of hair. My mother, who made that heavenly vanilla ice cream base all those years ago, today shares her heart with someone else’s dad and is a stepmother to another grown daughter, the same age as me. The contrasting picture almost took my breath away and for a brief moment I had to turn away, to hide the rush of unexpected emotion.

Then the words of a loving, personal God, came to mind …

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

As I scooped out of the bowl that one, last, delicious bite of strawberry ice cream, I considered how very thankful I am for the people in my life who offer love in astounding and varied ways. Darrell had expressed his love with ice cream. The memory of making homemade ice cream during my childhood had reminded me of the solid love of two parents. And today, a bright pink electric ice cream maker — a surprise gift from a truly wonderful stepmom — reminds me that love changes, matures and endures.

We’ll be making Eagle Brand chocolate ice cream this weekend. It’s smooth and delicious and I’m happy to share the love of this great recipe if you will e-mail me at jbklope@hotmail.com . It’s a hot weather delight not to be missed!

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is jbklope@hotmail.com.

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