Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Ice Cream Theory

Editorial and Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Holly

Aboard US Naval vessels it is a common practice to serve “real” ice cream after extended periods at sea or on special occasions. On one previous such occasion, I saw Sailors and Marines alike serving up their junior counterparts, in most cases, scoops [mounds] of the cold stuff, with choice toppings. Everyone, the servers, the recipients or anyone within 100 feet of the social, had big smiles on their faces. After closer examination of these people, it seemed these permanent grinning expressions were coming from a subconscious place, a place where sweeter memories prevailed—at least, that’s how I perceived it.

Anyway, I started thinking of what ice cream meant to me. When I think of ice cream, I think of many things. Maybe I imagined walking through the zoo with my friends, visiting an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with my parents or grandparents, hanging out at the park with my kids or perhaps just hanging on the couch, watching my favorite program with my wife. As I write, my mind’s eye points to one common factor in all previous stated events—Family.

So I have to ask myself, “What is it about ice cream that makes most people happy [barring those who have allergic or adverse reactions to dairy products]?” And when I say a lot, I’m saying 1.6 billion gallons produced annually in America alone. We all know it’s a comfort food that has no cultural or ethnic barriers in the United States, or in any semi-developed country for that matter. I mean, everyone loves ice cream. So is it safe to say most people share these same memories? If so, could it also be assumed when service members have ice cream, they are conjuring up memories of times past, times with their families and friends. I would like to think so…. But until we actually find an answer, we’d like to say: Family and friends, take heart, your Marines and Sailors are thinking of you on those sweet, ice cream occasions.

Keep serving it up Skipper!

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