It was hot. I was driving down a city street in Pocatello, Idaho, one day a few summers ago in my 25 year old Ford pickup; no air conditioning, the windows were down, the electronic digital thermometers around town were registering between 98 degrees and 100 degrees F., and I was nearing meltdown. (I only drove the newer air-conditioned car on Sunday, or for longer road trips.)
This hot ride triggered my memory of, and a desire for, one of those twin stick Popsicles we used to buy as kids. Remember those? (I wasn’t able to find a photo of Popsicles, so an ice cream cone photo will have to suffice.) 🙂 They came in a variety of flavors; orange, cherry, lime, root beer, and raspberry, just to name a few. Orange and cherry were my favorites. For those lovers of something a bit more heavy, there were the Fudgesicles and the Dreamsicles. The Dreamsicles, you will remember, were orange Popsicles with vanilla ice cream in the center.
Remember how we used to suck the juice out of the twin sticks, from one side to the other, and when they had softened just enough, we would gently pull on the sticks so as to separate them intact and suck on the separate icicles? After they had softened even a bit more, we could munch on that cold mushy treat, savoring it right down to the last lick on the stick.
Back in the “old days,” we would find them in the grocery store, or drug store ice cream freezers. They usually came in boxes of about two dozen to the box, and the store owners would put these open boxes of different flavors in the freezer where we could pick our favorite from these selections. We paid our nickel at the register, slipped off the paper wrapper, and proceeded to enjoy our refreshing treat.
I don’t know if they even make twin stick Popsicles anymore, and if they do, are they available in single units, or does one have to buy them in packages with several assorted flavors in the package? It seems, anymore, these big super stores don’t want to be bothered with single unit items of that sort. It’s much easier to sell a dozen at a time. But I know, that day, during that particulr summer, I sure would have appreciated being able to go into a store and pick one of those cold succulent ice suckers from the freezer. Man, that would have been a treat. Probably would have brought back even more kid memories in the bargain as well.
When these store-bought Popsicles were not available, Mom used to make her version of these icy treats by freezing cool aide in the ice trays using toothpicks for the sticks, but they just weren’t quite the same as the store bought versions. Something about the formula of those home made refreshers didn’t allow them to soften up like the store bought Popsicles. They would stay hard, or when they did melt, they would drip all over our hands; and when we’d suck on ’em we’d suck all the flavor out of ’em and end up with just a plain ol’ ice cube. Or worse yet, they would melt just enough to let the flavored ice cubes slip off the toothpick. More often than not, they would fall to the ground before we could catch ‘em. But still, in all, when it came down to a choice between these substitutes, or no Popsicles at all, we were thankful for the subs.
Another thing I enjoyed back in the old days, was ice cold slushy Coke. There were two Coke machines located in Soda Springs—one at the Coppard Ford garage, and the other at the City Transfer and Storage Co.—that were my favorites to patronize simply because of the temperature at which these businesses had their machines set. The 5 cent Cokes from these machines were just cold enough that when you popped the cap, the drink would immediately turn to slush. Boy, how I used to savor that cold slushy liquid sliding down my gullet on a hot summer day. If you were hot enough, and thirsty enough, you could take that six ounce bottle of Coke slush down in one long swig.
Oh well, I have since found other substitutes for these tasty refreshing treats of my youth. The day I mentioned at the beginning of this column, later found me at home munching on an icy cold slice of sweet succulent watermelon. It wasn’t a twin stick Popsicle, or a slushy Coke, but very refreshing, nevertheless.
Speaking of memories of the old days, perhaps you’d like to read my book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures. It’s about the adventures of a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s. You can obtain a free copy by clicking on the “free download” button at upper right of this page. It’s also available for purchase at www.amazon.com. Enjoy.