By John Christmann
I have it on pretty good authority—Wikipedia—that summer doesn’t start until June 20th. But for me, the first day of summer officially began on the first warm day I stood in line at The Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.
I believe that eating an ice cream cone is a summer skill that every parent should teach a child, like riding a two-wheel bike or doing a front flip off the diving board or weeding. As an adult, I have learned that there is a fine art to consuming ice cream cones, especially on those days when the polar ice caps are dripping. And I have the trails of orange sherbet on my T shirts to prove it.
In the scheme of things, teaching a child to eat an ice cream cone might seem trivial. But wait until the first time you experience a screaming, chocolate-faced toddler standing over a double plop of Rocky Road melting on the pavement. Then you understand how important the trivial things are.
Personally, I like demonstrating on sugar cones with double scoops of hard ice cream that hang dangerously over the edge. Such cold treats present a challenge because an impatient tongue can easily exert enough pressure to flop the icy scoop forward into the abyss. Therefore it is important to start with some downward pressure and then rotate the cone slowly around to erode the overhangs with your tongue as they soften.
When it is really hot outside, I like to separate the pointed cone from its soggy napkin and suck the cold cream right out the bottom. And then, when no one is looking, especially my wife, I lick my fingers.
Of course, there is a downside to eating ice cream cones. Your kids will want to practice. And, as my kids like to remind me all summer, practice makes perfect.
John Christmann is a freelance writer and all around good guy. He lives in Summit, NJ with his very tolerant wife and three children. His favorite color is plaid and he is afraid of machines and small dogs. You can check out his unique take on parenting at www.dadinthebox.com or fill up his inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.