Coco’s first ice cream

Alicia was just a tyke when I started dating her Aunt Mary Kay. She became the first family member to meet me when we went out for a burger one Sunday afternoon. When she got home, her mom, Mary Kay’s sister, was waiting at the door. “What was he like?” she was eager to know.
“He’s a writer,” little Alicia said. “And he talks a lot about his wife.”
I had been divorced three years by then but apparently was not as healed as I thought.
That was about 17 years ago. Last Saturday, Alicia got married.
Her wedding meant another favorite niece, along with a great niece, were in town. Sarah, daughter of Mary Kay’s other sister, is a dentist in Roanoke, Virginia. Her husband, Adrian, is a pharmacist there. They have three children: Corinne, whom we all call Coco, who’s a little more than two years old, and seven-month-old twins boys, Emmett and Remy. We adore them all. But especially Coco.
The wedding was spectacular and Alicia made a beautiful bride, but as usual, Coco stole our hearts.
She performed her flower girl duties admirably but it was the hour or so we spent with her following the after-wedding Sunday brunch that we cannot stop talking about.
The wedding reception and brunch were both at the Inne of the Abingtons and that meant on Sunday afternoon we were a mere mile away from Manning’s Farm and the ice cream bar hooked right on to a barn full of cows. Now, we are well aware that Sarah closely monitors Coco’s eating (at two, she knows what quinoa is) so we weren’t sure ice cream was allowed, but on this occasion it was.
Don’t let on, but I think Sarah wanted some Manning’s even more than we wanted to see Coco try it. Her three scoops in a cup bears that out.
Coco got a baby scoop of strawberry in a cup (actually in the cutest little baby cone, which we promptly dumped into a cup). We suspected it might be her first taste of ice cream and it turned out we were right.
How did she like it?
What do you think?
I was holding her in my arms as she ate it (she handles a spoon quite well for her age) and halfway through, without any prompting, squealed, “Ice cream makes me happy.”
You know what else made her happy? The cows.
She stood on tippy toes at the barn windows and called to them and even went into the cutest rendition of “Old MacDonald” with “a moo moo here and a moo moo there.”
Mary Kay and I were on cloud nine.
Especially me, since I used to take my kids there when they were little.
The first time, the smell of the cows was hard to ignore and we worried that little Michael, perhaps 5, might say something embarrassing. He was that kind of kid. But he kept his mouth shut. Until we were outside, that is. Then he pronounced, “Thank God. If we stayed in there any longer I was afraid I was going to stink to death.”
The smell was not any better some 25 years later when we brought Coco but she didn’t seem to notice. She’s that kind of kid.
We have no idea what Emmett and Remy thought.

Ed Ackerman