Ice cream sodas…….. the ties that bind.

I got a little taste of heaven yesterday. Well, actually it was a “black and white” soda. You remember, a chocolate ice cream soda with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

But it wasn’t the soda, so much as the moment, that was heaven-like. You see, I was enjoying it with my two granddaughters. Yesterday was their father’s birthday. I volunteered to take them out yesterday afternoon so they could shop for a present for their dad. Now usually my wife takes on this kind of endeavor, but she was gone, visiting her sister at the beach. I was somewhat reminded of that expression “never send a boy to do a man’s job”, but off I went on this intrepid quest.

At some point, after having little success and feeling a little bedraggled, I suggested we sit down and mull this over while imbibing an ice cream soda. Imagine my shock when neither of them knew what that was! When I was a young, an ice cream soda was the highlight of any day. It was that one serene moment in the chaos that was a little boy’s daily fare. Sitting at the counter slurping that giant soda at White’s drugstore in Elmira, New York was Nirvana. Maybe it only seemed bigger, as childhood memories do tend to exaggerate somewhat. But it was such an “in the moment” experience for me that I see myself on that very stool right now, as if I was ordering it while plunking down my last shiny quarter.

Anyway, back to the future. As I coaxed the girls into this idea, off we went to Timberlake Drugstore, home of one of the few remaining old-timey soda fountains in civilization. More famous for their milkshakes and located on Virginia’s historic “three notched road”, it was the obvious choice for this epicurean adventure. It’s changed relatively little from when it was first opened over 100 years ago. OK, maybe this was as much for me as it was for them. Busted.


Surprisingly, both were a little hesitant about it. The 12-year old, always more serious, introspective and not as adventurous, opted for her personal favorite, a root beer float. Good choice, my second favorite all-time soda fountain drink. The 8-year old, always inquisitive, was a willing subject and loves anything that also includes the words “ice cream.” This was no exception.

But I stray from the point. For a few moments, as we sat outdoors under the shade of a big oak, enjoying a zephyr breeze and sipping our delicious treats, I was transfixed. All other earthly sights and sounds paled as I immersed myself in the delight of the moment. Here I was, alone with my precious granddaughters enjoying a moment that even God might have envied.

It’s been a long, long journey from the little kid sitting at the counter at White’s drugstore to the somewhat worldly, yet still wide-eyed elder that was enjoying yet another ice cream soda. But somehow, for some reason, I had finally just tasted the perfect one!

27 thoughts on “Ice cream sodas…….. the ties that bind.

  1. Great post, definitely a day to remember 🙂

    It sounds funny to my European ears to hear you talking of buying ice cream sodas and toys from a drugstore. The word drugstore sounds like a pharmacy… And here you wouldn’t normally find a toy shop and food shop connected!

    • Over the years, our drug stores have become mini-supermarkets. But for over a hundred years at least there has always been a “soda shop” tied in with a drugstore or pharmacy. You will see it in old movies from the 20’s and 30’s.

  2. You do realize that you just created a memory that will last your precious little granddaughters their entire lives, right? Someday, when they are grandmothers, they’ll pull this memory out and do the same thing with their grandchildred…sweet!

    • Thank you and welcome to my blog. Yes, that was a special moment that just needed to be savored. My grandparents meant the world to me so if I just give even a small part of that back it will be something for them to take through their lives.

      I’ll see you on your blog!

  3. Pingback: The long and winding road to fitness, day 68 « Run4joy59's Blog

  4. I have been having a read through your blog ( I noticed your name on Twist365 eulogy) so I decided that it may be worth an investigation.
    It was worth every second and if you do not object I shall press the follow button so that I can keep up to date and not lose track of you…

    I loved the posts, which are written with kindness and great humour.
    I have 14 grandchildren,,,do you want to volunteer to take them to the soda store?

    • Hi misswhiplash and welcome. Thanks for the compliment (unlike Tilly Bud, you can shower me with all the compliments you want). Glad you enjoyed the post and especially for honoring me with a subscription.

      Fourteen grandchildren! Wow! Why don’t we just have the next ice cream soda outing catered?

      I have visited your site before and enjoyed your posts as well. I think we will be seeing a lot more of each other.

  5. Such a lovely moment to treasure – thanks for bringing it to life so poignantly.

    I almost forgive you for rambling on and on about ice cream and chocolate and whatnot when SOME of us are on a diet.

  6. Oh my, does it ever. White’s Drug Store – watching the soda jerk pull the handle which added seltzer to the soda and hearing the ssszzzzzz of the seltzer which put the fizz into the soda. White’s was our healing spot …. everytime one of my 4 siblings or I were dragged to Dr. Bloch’s office for an injection of some kind or other (in my case it was a tetanus shot every summer because I had stepped on something nasty and sharp in my always summertime bare feet) my mother would reward us with a soda or sundae at White’s Drug Store if we promised to be brave. I’m so happy there still is a place to make those summertime memories for your granddaughters.

  7. What an absolutely charming post, full of love and nostalgia. I adore this line:

    Here I was, alone with my precious granddaughters enjoying a moment that even God might have envied.

    • You put it best, Tilly Bud, it was definitely a moment full of love and nostalgia. We all probably have more of these than we realize, but are too distracted to appreciate them.

  8. Mmmm… ice cream soda… yummy. I actually introduced my partner to them this year. I can’t believe he made it to 45 without ever knowing what one was! He’s now completely hooked and is always trying out new flavours. A worthy tradition to pass on to your grandchildren!

  9. Sounds like the perfect day. Something they will remember and something you will not forget either. Thanks for sharing it. Wish you could have shared the ice cream soda too.

  10. Al, what a wonderful story. I hope at least one of you slurped and another of you sploshed your ice cream soda. It’s not a trip to the get ice cream with your grandchildren unless someone has evidence of the trip on his or her clothes! A yummy story all the way around,

  11. White’s Drugstore was a magical place for me too, Big Al. Mainly for the dime comic books, and then the expanded toy store area. Mr. or Mrs. White bought the store next door and they knocked out the walls to incorporate the toy section just in time for Christmas one year. My brother, sister and I enjoyed looking over the merchandise in the cold November and December. There was a doll on display that came with a wardrobe and roller skates! Tiny little white roller skates…….that was my Christmas wish and that’s what Santa brought that year. Good memories!

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