The Frosty Moment Called for Ice Cream

By Sarver, Susan | The Christian Science Monitor, December 2, 1998 | Go to article overview

The Frosty Moment Called for Ice Cream


Sarver, Susan, The Christian Science Monitor


Every time I receive a wedding invitation, I envision the unique personalities of the two people about to wed. I think of what they love, what they share, what makes them laugh. Then I go to the store and buy them all the same thing: an old-fashioned ice-cream maker.

Every couple's response is the same. First, they look puzzled, then they recover to utter a quick pair of "thank yous." Then they set the thing aside like a book opened at Christmas amid a mountain of toys.

The newlyweds will head off on their honeymoon, then return to settle into the day-to-day business of being husband and wife. They'll unpack the ice-cream maker and set it on a closet shelf or in the garage and forget about it. Time will pass, and soon the wedding silver will need polishing, the toaster will fill with crumbs, and somehow life will seem all too ordinary. Then one of them will think of ice cream! My husband and I were just such a couple. We opened an ice-cream machine at our wedding reception. The giver was a purist, selecting a model with a genuine oaken bucket, a large-capacity tin, and a hand crank. She grinned knowingly as we labored to disguise our surprise and managed a pair of hesitant smiles. We never took the machine out of its box to appreciate the bucket's polished-oak staves or the perfect fit of the wide paddle in the tin. Instead, it was quickly crated with the other gifts and shipped to our new home. After a carefree honeymoon, we settled into the predictable lifestyle of two newly-married, working professionals. We negotiated day-to-day duties, deciding who did the laundry, bought the groceries, cooked the dinner, cut the grass. Within months, the structure and routine of married life were in place. We purchased two rooms of furniture, six potted plants, a lawn mower, and a dog. Life was good. Then it happened. We had our first fight. In the long-established form of my youth, I slammed the bedroom door, threw myself on the bed, and cried. My husband went out to play basketball. Hours slipped by, and without the attention that I'd expected to elicit from my rookie spouse, I quickly grew tired of crying and being alone. Finally, he returned, carrying a paper bag. I hoped it held flowers. Instead, he pulled out a bulky, rectangular sack, which he laid with a disappointing thud on the counter. "What's that?" I asked, keeping an angry edge to my voice. "Salt," he answered. "Don't we have an ice-cream maker someplace?" "In the garage," I said, stingy with my words. He brought the box into the living room and sat it on the floor, obviously as an invitation for me to come and help. But I didn't. I shifted plates and pots, pretending to cook dinner. All the while, I was watching to see if this city boy I'd married could figure out how to assemble a machine he'd never used in his life. He got as far as screwing the wooden handle onto the iron rod. After that he sat back and scratched his head, a scene that forced a smile across my face. "You ever use one of these things?" he yelled toward the kitchen. "Yeah," was all I said. It turned out that ours was a model almost identical to the one I grew up with, so it took only minutes for me to assemble the pieces and punctuate the task with a satisfying glare of superiority. "Do we have all the stuff we need to make some?" he wondered. "Yeah. Take this outside. Hammer some ice. …

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