Monday, July 30, 2007


Woke up this morning thinking about ice and just moved way back in my memory to when I was just a kid ............................ note that that was a LONG time ago, LOL. Back then there were 2 kinds of ice: 1) the kind you skated on (a discussion for another day) and 2) the kind that kept things cold. Yup, that second category was more for "cooling" stuff than using it for a frosty cold drink. I can remember going up to my Aunt Em's store in Milwaukee to stay for a week or so when I was in elementary school. Some of my greatest memories (another whole day's story) included waiting out on the scary big sidewalk waiting for the Iceman. You see, even though Aunt Em had a "modern" refrigerator in the little apartment behind/connected to the store she ran ... in the store itself was a walk-in cooler for fresh produce and deli meats and cheese and milk ..... and everything else you needed to keep cool so it didn't spoil. That cooler had a spot where great big blocks of ice sat to keep the temperature low enough. Every other day I waited to hear the "clop-clop" of the big old horse with the blinders on each side of his eyes come pulling the ice wagon down the brick street (I'll never forget the sound and the excitement in my heart as I watched it come so proudly in front of that wagon - as if it knew the importance of the job it was doing.) That man would jump down off the front of that wagon and come around the back with a big smile lifting his black mustache on his face and greet my excitement. He would let me come close as he lifted the heavy canvas tarp that hung over the back of the wagon to reveal stacks and stacks, one upon another, huge blocks of glistening crystal clear ice. The cold breeze from the inside had a smell of it's own that I have always thought of as "fresh" air, and I would breath it in as deep as I could while watching him climb up into the dark wooden center of that mysterious wagon. He would grab a huge claw thing with two very sharp sharp shiny ends that worked much like a tongs. Then with a swift movement he would latch on to a huge block of ice and fling it over his back which was covered with a thick leathery apron to protect him from the cold. He'd carry it through the front door of the store (that I was holding open for him of course with great pride) and moving aside the half melted ice sitting there he would stack whatever my aunt ordered in the back of that cooler and then .......... before putting the removed half melted blocks back in their spot ........ he would reach into his leather tool belt and pull out his wooden handled ice pick and smile. Now that pick was as sharp as a needle, and it's long thin round blade shiny and dangerous ...... I would lean in close as he expertly chipped off just a clear thin sliver of that beautiful crystal...then, with a smile from ear to ear he would hand me that delicacy. The taste of that ice was like no other treat I ever had. Standing there in that cooler with the mixture of smells around me chewing on the clear frozen water he mysteriously carried in that horse wagon was an experience never to be forgotten. Then, almost in the blink of an eye, he would be gone ... and I would run out to watch that wagon slowly move down the street with the "clip-clop" sound echoing in the trees and the breath of a little girl standing with ice water running from her giant smile.


wahbiz said...

If you go to post a new blog you can click on the tab that says edit and choose which post you want to edit. You can probably delete it by doing that.

wahbiz said...

And you can change the font size and style just where you compose the blog.