Last night up here in The Berkshires, after spending the afternoon with my oldest child—my daughter—and her daughter and my eleven-year-old and my older son's little boy, and a beautiful afternoon it was, took the boys after dinner for ice cream at SoCo, the local homemade ice cream store I never miss when I'm here.
I've never been a big fan of pastries or cake (except for pumpkin pie and angel food cake, preferably with strawberries or some kind of fruit) or candy (except for dark chocolate), but ice cream has always sustained me.
My favorite ice cream for the past several years has been SoCo. Especially their special flavors like pumpkin and ginger. Last night I had a sugar cone topped with one scoop of Earl Gray with Honey flavored ice cream. A total taste delight.
The night before, we had all gone out to a roller skating rink in New York State that had a skateboard park in it too, which the boys mostly stayed in. I actually roller skated (old style skates) for a couple of hours. Not quite as disco dancing style as my older boy was doing or the boogieing dance moves my daughter was pulling off, but more like old guy's body trying to sense memory its way back into halfway feeling comfortable and confident in crossing feet on the turns etc.
Before we got there we stopped for soft ice cream at a roadside stand and I got a small one (out of three sizes, small, medium and large) and what they gave me was about twice the size of what used to be considered an ordinary cone with soft ice cream in it.
Which got me thinking about all the obesity and waste in this country and how simple it would be if we just dialed back to the standard sizes of my youth when an ice cream cone meant one scoop of ice cream, not even overflowing but a neat small circle of ice cream, with two scoops being an extravagance and even then not making you feel too stuffed because they'd be two small circles of ice cream, not overflowing extra large scoops more like a pint of ice cream on a cone.
Think if a box of candy at the movies was like they were when I was a kid, about the size of a deck of cards only a little more elongated. Today, when I buy my little guy some candy at the movies it's enough to keep several kids in candy for a week.
Part of the reason for all this, as has been written about extensively, is the government price supports for corn that makes growing it so profitable and buying it so cheap so that the sweeteners made from it can be used liberally and in everything. Let's not even get into corn fructose syrup, the result of a relatively recent process the long term impact of nobody knows, though the short term is obvious since any graph of the use of it in the food supply matches the graph of obesity, both rising dramatically once it became a staple ingredient in almost everything (though since much attention has been brought to that reality it's been removed from a lot of otherwise good products).
Anyway, wandering around Great Barrington eating SoCo ice cream cones, checking out the array of hippie styles outside The Mahawie Theater where a well known string band was performing, I noticed a lot of the young hippies/punks (the two styles conjoined around here) didn't just have piercings, but also had those ear lobe things, like giant wooden buttons stuck through their lobes stretching them out. But nonetheless, the vibe was so mellow and friendly and sensual it felt like it could have been The Summer of Love, same disastrous kind of world events going on, though a much worse economy, but that vibe of peace and love creating an aura over everything making the evening seem precious in the best sense of that word, a beautiful night to be alive.