Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Icee's & Ice Cakes

Icee for Sale $0.50

In 1981, when I was a student at Pavaiai Elementary in American Samoa, getting a quarter from my parents so I could stop by the bush store for an ice cake was a big deal.

(It was a hot & long walk home from Pavaiai to Mesepa where I lived.)

My friends and I would know which bush store on the way home sold the best Ice Cakes. We were always on the prowl for the ones that had more kool-aid syrupy goodness & sugar in it than water. That way when you chomped into the Ice Cake, it flaked instead of chunked.

We also knew which stores had Ice Cakes in multiple colors & flavors. Grape always seemed to be the rarest back in the day. Red could mean Fruit Punch or Strawberry or Cherry.

Ice Cake that was more frozen syrup than water, was the very thing to beat the heat. So what if you chipped your teeth biting into what was essentially colored water? It was still hot as hell out there on the pavement and unless a dime magically appeared to make the $0.35 necessary to buy a Coke - an Ice Cake was the thing you got as a treat.

(And it was the treat you shared with your ten new best friends, who also magically appeared out of the bushes.)

Now a days, my children tell me the recession has made the cost of Ice Cakes (aka Icee's here in Hawaii) - go up another quarter. Still the same basic ingredients: colored syrupy stuff in whatever flavor is cheapest, a bit of sugar to sweeten the pot & if you're feeling fancy - some li hing mui powder sprinkled on the top.

As the school bell rings to let the kids out for the day, my kids run to my truck in the 89 degree heat dragging backpacks heavy with textbooks. They are laughing & smiling & with browned hands sticking thru the passenger side window, all of them shout out," Please Mommy can we have fifty cents to buy an Icee? Please?"

Like a good mother, I ask if all the homework assignments are in, what the test scores are for the day, if they ate their breakfast & lunches. The kids get all fidgety and start pleading,"Please Mommy! Hurry up! Give us the money! They're going to sell out of all the good ones!"

I laugh & dole out the quarters I'd saved all week for them.

And then my little brown faces run off the fists clenched tightly around their precious quarters & join their friends to peruse the Ice Cake offerings of 3 different stands near their school. One of them runs back to the truck, hoisting his Ice Cake like a trophy. He managed to get the ever rarer than Grape flavor: Lime.

All of their faces are ringed with the tell tale Ice Cake signs: ruby red tipped noses! and smiles.

With Love & delicious Ices~

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