Do you remember your first wide-eyed experience at the candy store? Do you remember the first time you looked at a Giant Ice Cream Cone or tackled a large pizza all by yourself? I do. I remember. Whirlygigs of giddy swarm through each electric brain wave and replace thought with saliva and good sense with extra-sensative taste buds. The first day we imagined, the first day we went to school, the first day we sat on a teeter-totter...good good days.
We served Marieke a root-beer float Monday night. She's a wonderfully sensible blond dutch girl with a girlish shyness and a great sense of humor. She takes care of her man, Monique's nephew Pascal and she's helpful around the house. Monique and I are delighted by her. But...a rootbeer float, the quintessential initiation into American Folklore, the bastion of American Pride, the joyful, tantalizing burst of melting icecream and rootbeer fizz lapping at your tongue like a begging ocean, the salivating tastebud enhancing savior of the fancy-free, dessert loving citizen of the good ol' U.S of A....the big fat-n-happy yummy...gave Marieke's sensible nature a dose of Red Bull, a dose of Merry-Go-Round and Roller Coaster, a dose of hippity-hoppity...it was Marieke's first one.
We said "would you like a root-beer float?" She said "What? What is that?" Monique innocently replied "Root-beer with a scoop of ice-cream inside!" In my mind, it sounds pretty good...in her mind, she's mixing icecream with some kind of beer that Americans put roots in! She's thinking "Heineken and Icecream...hmmm...these Americans are dumber than I thought!" Well, after a good laugh, Pascal explained that it is a type of soda and that he had one before and really liked it. Anticipation grew, excitement and confusion abounded in that blond haired, blue eyed dutch lady with an eager anticipation to experience all things American! We tell stories about root beer floats, we talk about dessert, we're building to an ice-cream mountain Frenzy...! She says "ok, I'll try it," in that subdued, conservative, Dutch manner that I find so familiar, but her face belies the statement, giving me all the information I need...she can't wait. Humidity hovers and storms are imminent...but all that is behind a thick wall of imagination...a force impenetrable.
It comes...a bubbly, creamy, foamy, fizzy concoction of beauty. Her lips tentatively test the straw, the tiniest of sips climbs to her mouth...she looks around, mouth still on straw and smiles...it's almost there...she sips more, then, following Monique's lead, takes a spoon, digs into the cup and reaches for rootbeer ladened icecream...almost there...I stop and watch...almost there! Spoon to mouth, the spoon slips through her teeth and onto her tongue and, there it is! The nostalgic rush of candystick face...the joy of girl-hood all wrapped up in rootbeer and icecream and all I can say is that she loved it. Never had rootbeer touched her lips, never had she been so glad that she reached out for something American. A rootbeer float. I know her eyeballs will once again turn to rootbeer and icecream. It tastes great and isn't less filling and it feels good to say it.
The day should live on in legend I'd say. Each sip and dip of a rootbeer float is a History lesson in Americanism, pioneering and discovery. It hails back to the good ol' days which still find us in the good new days. It doesn't need a lot of explanation...just a moment of candystick face and a sweet little..."ahhh...that's good."
Next on the American list...goober burgers.