The season has arrived. Fans anticipate Opening Day of baseball with great hopes for their local teams. Here in the Philadelphia area, we have great expectations for the Phillies, but it’s still early yet, and though the team has made some games very interesting, we shall wait to see what happens. Only in Philadephia!
One of my best memories is the day my son was born on April 11, 1994, opening day of the Phillies season. My husband had tickets to the home opener, and that was the day the baby arrived. Fortunately, the delivery was swift, about 50 minutes, and after a quick kiss and a pat on the head, and a “Thanks a lot. You did good,” my husband dashed out of the room and off to the game.
Opening day for me, however, has nothing to do with baseball. I anxiously await the Opening Day at our local ice cream stand with enthusiasm unmatched by the most enthusiastic Phillies’ fan. I eagerly await the time for my annual trek to a delicious treat introducing my taste buds to the spring-summer season. Now, lest you should think that I take a tent and camp out there, I need you to understand that the stand is only a few miles away. From any location that I am visiting or shopping, I can make my way there on a whim.
Unlike baseball, the stand is open everyday. There is something special about the season. To be honest, I don’t go to the stand weekly, but when I do go, the trip is usually a capricious one. I’ll be driving home from Virginia after visiting family, and by the time I cross the bridge into NJ, I am thinking that Cream Valley Custard is only a short distance away.
Choosing a flavor is difficult at Cream Valley, despite the fact that they boast a signature flavor–orange twist. It’s not my favorite. I often gaze undecidedly at the menu board, tapping my chin with my finger, studying the options before placing my order. I usually start with, “Um…” I look at the board again. “I think I’ll have a small vanilla twist in a cup with chocolate jimmies.” I seldom deviate, not that I wouldn’t like to, but because the accumulation of banana gelatis over the season translates into massive amounts of extra poundage and no number of trips to the gym will overcome those calories.
Like many of our Phillies seasons which end in disappointment, the season ends for my favorite ice cream stand too. Cream Valley puts up its “Closing Soon” sign about two weeks before the last day. I quickly make plans so that I don’t miss the last opportunity. Sadly, as a savor the last spoonsful of my favorite flavor, I slowly plod to my car, shoulders slumping. “Spring is coming,” I say to myself. “There is always ColdStone and Yogo in the meantime. Besides football season is on its way.” Go Eagles. Enjoy the season!
*Note: This is a picture that inspired a picture from my book Pappy Loves Braydon.