At the ice cream parlour, it's just Mama and me. Customers come and customers go, but Mama and I stay. They bring in dust from the road, sunshine from the sky −"from God" Mama would say− and news from the city. We sweep out the dust, let in more sunshine, and listen to their news. But on Sundays, we get new ideas for our shop as well.
"Hi what would you like?" I ask. It's an usual Sunday afternoon.
"Well what do you have?"
"It's a Sunday, you could make it yourself."
After considering a little, he says, "Then I would like a bowl with all vanilla and chocolate sauce."
I follow his order, then hand it over to him. "That'd be 99 cents."
"Mighty expensive ice cream."
"Mighty good ice cream and the only ice cream parlour in town."
He flashes me a smile and sits down to read the Sunday news and enjoy his dairy.
Mama walks in and shakes her head. She disapproves of the vanilla and chocolate mix. To her, it'd make more sense if they just stayed apart.
"Looks weird when it melts. 'Sides, vanilla's sweet and soft, and chocolate's a tad bitter and real rich." She said once, when I asked.
Mama's right about that. But that doesn't mean we can't sell them mixed. The combination's popular with many customers, I'm not altogether sure if it isn't because of the contrast.
Sometimes when business is slow, I invent new recipes. The old recipes are classics, and the customers order them on a regular basis. But new ones should always be made for the more adventurous passer-bys.
I'm already finished one batch and putting them out for display when Mama walks in from the back and sees what I'm making. She wasn't too happy.
"What on Earth are you doing?!"
I look at her, and hold up a biscuit. "I'm making these ice cream biscuits." I show her how it's done. Half mixed vanilla and chocolate ice cream between soft, airy biscuits.
"You don't mix 'em." She says.
"If a customer wants chocolate and vanilla side-by-side, you let 'em. But you don't go consciously mixin' them together. It ain't proper."
Of course, Mama's right. The biscuits didn't sell very well. I'm not sure if it's because a sudden bout of rain broke out and lasted a week, or if the biscuits were bad. But I shouldn't have had high expectations. Not everything sells well in town. There are reasons the young man working out back never speaks to me anymore. Not even chocolate and vanilla ice cream sell well when they're mixed together.