When I was a kid, we used to go down to Homer for the 4th of July. Loads of us, extended theatre family types. Lots of kids, lots of adults, lots of mosquitoes. Fireworks you couldn’t see, because the sun doesn’t go down in Alaska in July. Wading in the slough and getting clay up to your knees and convincing each other that the mothers wouldn’t notice. Picking Alaska cotton and tickling each other with the fluff. Running up the solid mud road to the cousins who had running water, to drink from their hose. Hot dogs and potato salad and hamburgers and deviled eggs. Sodas and Kool-Aid and beer.
They (well, someone) had an old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream maker, the big wooden barrel kind that you filled with salt and ice and sat a kid on top of to keep the lid on until that kid’s butt pretty much froze solid, and then you sat a different kid on top of it, and made the half-frozen kid turn the crank for a while to get the blood flowing again. Adults took turns cranking too, though not so much with the sitting, if I recall. It seemed like it took all day, and all day is a long time in Alaska in the summertime.
The vanilla ice cream I just made tastes like those memories.