Monday, December 22, 2008


Yesterday I needed a pick-me-up while helping my husband with his Christmas shopping, so we stopped in at a local ice cream shop called Sprinkles. It's at the end of a local shopping plaza (a.k.a. "the strip mall"), past a store called Tuesday Morning, that does not sell mornings, but sells all sorts of off-loaded junk from stores like TJ Maxx. I wanted ice cream, probably because I saw the ice cream parlor. Forty minutes earlier I wanted hot chocolate because I saw a sign for it. I was already deep in the "must have what I want now" spirit of holiday shopping, weakened by every advertising scheme. I was fatigued. I NEEDED a dusty road sundae.

Sprinkles is owned and run by a friendly retired couple, who I like to imagine always liked ice cream and wanted to share their love of frozen treats with the public. It's a small shop, with some hand painted murals of giant slobbery ice cream cones on the walls that seem so happy they have shivered all their sprinkles off into confetti. The signs for specials are all hand-lettered with sharpie marker, they sell juice in cans, and a few lonely hot dogs spin on a warmer. A small TV sits on top of the soda cooler and lazes out a Sunday football game. A Christmas tree takes up valuable real estate at a four person table near the window.

I ordered a dusty road sundae, with no nuts, and Dan had some chocolate peanut butter ice cream while he read the local arts paper. The malt reminded me of Farmer's Dairy Ice Cream Store. Dan was done with his ice cream. "You ready?" he asked.

"Don't you like it in here? Don't you want to stay?" The hot dogs continued their spin to nowhere behind me.

I wanted to stay. Sprinkles and the malt in my dusty road reminded me of Farmer's Dairy Ice Cream Parlor in Hazleton. When my dad first got his job in Pennsylvania, and we were still living in New Jersey, he stayed at Genetti's Best Western on Rt. 309 in Hazleton. I remember visiting him, eating at Genetti's restaurant, playing a few rounds of Asteroids on the game in the lobby, and then going across the highway to the ice cream parlor together.

I can't find a photo of it on the internet, or I'd post one here. It's design was a tribute to the orange kitchens of the 1970's. I remember orange and white rectangular tiles on the front underneath a wall of windows, and a large sign that said "Farmer's Dairy Store" in a script that no Postscript typeface matches. Was there a cow head? I think so. It was a brown and white one. Through the windows you could see the counter with spinning stools and the giant white globe lights that hovered above all of it like eerie spacecraft. Ah, I see my sister and her braids. My dad and his hornrimmed glasses. My mother in her turtleneck and Sassoon haircut. Me, still waiting for two front teeth. Dusty roads.

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