Several years ago (like a decade probably), I proved to my hunk-of-burnin’-love husband, Kevin by asking my friends and readers…that I was NOT the only farm kid who used to go out into the pasture and lick the big, beautiful pink, sparkling rocks my dad left here and there. Sure, I remember wondering what had made the smoothed bowl shape in the middle of the small, sparkling boulder (realizing years later that it had been the tongues of the cattle in my dad’s herd), but no matter…because cows have cleaner mouths than a lot of people I’ve encountered…and the beautiful, sparkly pink salt was mmm mmm good! Besides…who HASN’T licked a salt lick at some point in their life, right? Maybe it was your bunny’s salt-lick instead of your one for meant for a herd of cattle, but we’ve all done it…so let’s chalk it up as a great childhood memory and move on, shall we? Because we all had our fun little “secrets of mischief” as kids.
And that brings me to something I was thinking about/missing the other day. I’m sure many of you (if you are old enough to remember refrigerator freezing compartments that were NOT self-defrosting that is) shared in enjoying a fun little treat my sister and I relished when we were kids…eating the soft, fluffy, snow-like ice that would accumulate in our mom’s non-self-defrosting freezing compartment of the family refrigerator! Am I right, or what?!
Yep! My little sister, Luanna, and me (pictured right at ages 12-me and 4-her) used to hope Mom would delay on taking a Saturday to defrost her fridge freezer…simply because of the snow-like ice that would form on the top inside of the freezer compartment. If Mom put defrosting off too long, the ice would get to the perfect stage necessary for us to use canning jar rings and lids, or small metal measuring cups to scrape the ice into for our specialest treat ever…freezer snow!
Freezer snow from the fridge freezing compartment was like gold to us! We loved it! And it was quite the treat to snatch up when we could, because it took forever to accumulate and we had to take advantage of it before Mom had time to defrost the freezer, forcing us to wait weeks and weeks before we could have it again! (For those of you who may never have had the wonderful opportunity to live in a house with a non-self-defrosting freezer, here’s a photo of what a refrigerator freezing compartment would have looked like if you didn’t defrost regularly…though ours was never this bad, and whoever is using pans of hot water to help soften the ice in this photo has already destroyed the lovely snow-like freezer frost that would have formed on the top of the freezer.)
As I said, my sister and I really knew the best tools of the trade for optimum freezer ice enjoyment. A simple Mason or Ball canning jar lid was the preferred implement. One would simply put a lid inside a ring and then, using the ring to scrape the ice, watch with wild anticipation as the lid began to fill with freezer snow! Mmmmm! No flavoring was added…because it wasn’t necessary! On a hot, summer day in Albuquerque, there was no more refreshing treat than good ol’ freezer frost!
Now, although my kids probably don’t remember this, the first refrigerator Kevin and I owned was a non-self-defrosting model. Thus, I didn’t miss the chance to hand down the scraping-freezer-ice-for-a-treat, time-honored tradition to them! AND I never thought there was anything at all unusual about it…until one evening when Kevin and I returned from a rare night out on the town (dinner and a movie), having hired a babysitter for our three little kids.
We had asked a wonderful girl we knew and trusted to babysit, and when we returned home, the first thing she said to us was, “Sandy and Mitch asked me if they could do something weird…and assured me it would be okay for them to do it…so I hope it’s okay that I let them.”
Kevin and I looked at one another, wondering what on earth our two oldest children (our youngest wasn’t talking yet) could possibly have asked the babysitter to let them do that she would interpret as weird.
“What did they ask you?” I asked.
The babysitter’s eyebrows knit together in an expression of thinking something was REALLY weird and explained, “They wanted to scrape the frost out of your fridge freezer and eat it! They showed me how to use jar lids and measuring cups to scrape out the frost…so I figured it was something they’d done before…so I let them do it. I hope that’s okay.”
I laughed and reassured her that it was a time-honored tradition in our family and that all was well. I’m sure Kevin probably rolled his eyes and blushed with humiliation that our kids would do something so weird in front of our babysitter…but oh, well.
To the right you’ll see a copy of a photo of Sandy and Mitch when they were still “we love freezer frost!” age. It’s one of my very favorite photographs of all time! Kevin snapped it with a Polaroid camera he’d brought home from work one day and it has been displayed on my fridge for about 24 years now…because, to me, it just embodies so many things I loved about my kids being little: Their obvious delight in the fact that their daddy had purchased treats from the Ice Cream Man for them (Who remembers that sound of the Ice Cream Man’s truck coming? Loved that!)..their end-of-the-day and Mom’s-to-worn-out-to-worry-about-it grubbiness, Mitchel wearing only a shirt and his training undies, Sandy sitting on some random folding chair we had borrowed from my parents for some reason…I just LOVE this photograph!
Just a few years after this photo was taken, our old fridge was left behind when our family moved to Washington State and we never owned another non-self-defrosting freezer fridge again. (Heavy sigh!) Another time-honored tradition lost to the advances of technology…another childhood delight squashed on the window of “Let’s invent self-defrosting fridge feezers so moms will have more time to do something else more demanding and fast-paced than defrosting their freezers, so they can have even more stress!”
Anyway, that’s my random ramble today…a longing for the past when all it took to delight a child was the thrill of scraping freezer frost out of the freezer for a treat.
Now, onto this week’s contest! First off, the two winners of my last blog contest for hardcover editions of Sweet Cherry Ray are: Sara Jenks and Julianne Criner! Sara and Julianne, please e-mail me at email@example.com with your snail-mail addresses so I can get your books shipped out to you! Let me know if you want your books signed by me, and to whom, okay?
As for this week’s contest…hmmm…let me think. How about this: I recently discovered that my little sister, Luanna, loves polar bears! (Hmmm…I wonder if that has anything to do with our scraping freezer frost for treats during her formative years?) Which reminded me of the fun little Norwegian fairy tale film, The Polar Bear King that I’ve always loved, AND, East of the Wind, West of the Moon…the same fairy tale in book form! I’ve always wanted to fiddle with writing my own version, but Jessica Day George has already done that! (I’ve never read it, so let me know how it is!) So, this week’s prizes (and for two winners) are a DVD copy of The Polar Bear King (See fan-made trailer at end of blog) and a paperback copy of Jessica Day George’s version of the same fairy tale, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow! Okay?
And you know the drill…just leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’re entered! I’ll choose two winners in about a week when I, once again, blog about something completely unimportant to the world! Okay?
Meanwhile, here’s hoping someone out there still has a non-self-defrosting freezing compartment they can enjoy with their kids!