When I think of peaches, I think of homemade ice cream. And when I think of homemade ice cream, I think of a weeping willow tree.
Late afternoon on summer Sundays we gathered in the shade of an old weeping willow in the backyard and began an impatient journey toward ice cream.
Experts huddled in the kitchen, sharing well-guarded secrets. Only a few were trusted with a family recipe that had been passed down like grandmother's quilt or Cousin Charles' barbecue sauce.
Others broke up blocks of ice and made sure there was enough ice cream salt, waiting on the moment someone would march out of the kitchen with a stainless steel container filled with that sweet elixir.
Children like me flittered around the backyard, watching and learning, dreaming of the day we would be promoted into the inner circle of a process as steeled with mystery as an episode of "Law & Order."
My prayer was for peach, for it was my special treat.
When the cylinder was put in place and chunks of ice were crammed into the wooden bucket, the crank was attached. The time had come to turn and crank and for hours it seemed someone turned and cranked.
Salt and ice were added to drop the temperature even more.
Then they cranked some more.
No one watched the clock. It was done by feel and sound.
At just the right moment someone would announce that it was almost ready. A trained consultant was called in and after a few turns of the crank, with hungry people watching his every move, he would nod his head.
That was a cue for the children to get quiet and peaceful, hoping they would be selected to make those final turns.
Little kids were given the first bowls and they were Heaven.
That first bite of summer was rivaled only by the smooth texture of the ice cream slinging to the dasher.
Oh, to be the one that licked the dasher.
Those ageless moments were on my mind when UPS delivered our new ice cream maker the other day.
Out of the box on our kitchen counter, something wasn't there.
Taste buds were primed for homemade ice cream, but this glowing white machine was as bland and pristine as any appliance in the cabinet.
A container was left in the freezer for 24 hours. No ice was required and there was no mention of ice cream salt.
You just mix and stir and plug it in.
It made ice cream and we enjoyed it all, but the magic was missing and it wasn't something that was left out of the recipe.
What was missing were the eyes of a child.