Pralines ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream

June 30, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

I love ice cream. The ice cream at The Chocolate Shop is very good. Summer is ice cream season, so the queues might be long on that funny little sidewalk ramp outside the shop. There are benches not far along Broadway for sitting and consuming the delight.

Most places in the world have ice-plus-something, a cooling sweet suckable (sic), crushed or scooped on to a holder for your enjoyment. You have to hone your skills as to the drips which depend on how hot is the day, how quick is the drip and whether you are foolishly walking or wisely biding your time on a bench watching the world go by.

There is little appreciation for the Promenade here in Canada. In southern European, especially in the smaller towns it is quite the norm to lounge in the early evenings on the weekend, with a drink or fine coffee al fresco. That patio overlooks the walk that is plenty wide enough for strollers who are not in a hurry, not on errands, rushing for appointments, rushing because their lives are about rushing. 

There is space enough for elegance to be admired, such lovely silks in the blouses and delicate patterns or bold and full of colour in the skirts. The dresses are perfectly styled for the feminine forms they adorn and the ambience of the moment.

Gentlemen are by no means outshone by the ladies. Their attire is the latest fashion in the cut of their jackets and the flare of their collars – or perhaps no collars – but the linen, please, let there be also linen shirts, rather long and a little loose – white with just the hint of the sculptured body within them.

Ah! The greetings they give each other or by seeing someone on a patio, hands clasping over the railing, tremendous enthusiasm that all of them are there, at the same hour in such an idyllic time and place.

The Promenade is not necessarily a name – the capital is my nod to its specific place in a culture that loves fashion and understands the deep value of the leisurely moment, afternoon, evening. Gorgeous or funky, promenading is a long, adorable tradition. There is an attitude that leisure is an important part of life in Europe but leisure can never be defined as lazy; the two are completely diverse. Leisure is defined here by the expression “taking time to smell the roses.” Let us not divide our lives between dashing and doing nothing. Time is the only resource at all that we can never, ever replace. When that day, hour, minute is gone, it is gone forever and can only live in memory.

This is the platform upon which leisure shows its value – to spend some of our lives at a temperate pace, to savour the moments of the fine day, the excellent beverage, the good company. To create those memories and have them as dreams we can return to …later.

After a year at university at the appropriate time of life, I opted to live in another city and eventually to take off with Ernest to dally in the world, to live there, work at jobs, learn the languages – the university of the world, I called it. Living the adventures was a sort of a retirement fund, if one wanted an excuse, calling it long term planning. How can a person know what it is to be old when one is far from old but listening to my grandparents, with whom I spent so much of my youth, it seemed their main regrets were about the things they did not do. Those regrets were so much the influence to spur us on to travel and see and learn.

It seems there can come a day for many elderly people when they lose mobility and loved ones and what do they have left but their memories? It is hard to see them grieve for the missed opportunities and my hope was to have as few of those as possible.

A full life is completely a subjective perception. As we live it, we can only mostly guess at what will be seen as a regret and what a success. Yet, surely to live with enthusiasm and ready hands to do our best by others is part of the secret of living well.

Much is learned by travelling. At a certain age, we are can understand the errors of our own ways; we are still flexible enough to go with the flow of a new, possibly strange place. That is the time to be away from our own kind, drifting into conventions we hurry to follow. For a short time to try to learn what it is like to be part of another culture.

Sure gives us an enlightened perspective when we come back home.

In the course of this week, I celebrate my birthday and thinking about the value of treasuring the moment, this is the one in which to eschew the overwhelming plethora of bad news that hounds us and spend a leisurely 865 words or so with you.

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