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Ice cream treats must be retrieved before they melt

Joyce Walter's latest column from this week's issue of The Moose Jaw Express
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

The knack for proper packing of groceries was a lesson passed on by The Parents, observed by Yours Truly as I tagged along to the old Safeway stores on Main Street and then on Ninth Avenue Northwest and Caribou Street.

My Mother taught the packers that the tins of pork and beans do not go on top of the pears and peaches in the same brown bag. The fruits and vegetables were considered perishables and thus went into separate bags and when packed into the box of the truck or trunk of the car were placed in the boxes or picnic hampers that were cooled by frozen cans.

Ice cream bricks, Fudgsicles and Revels were placed in another bag and also placed in the cooled containers so they wouldn’t melt on the trip home.

On the journeys into the city on the Saturdays when we were purchasing milk and butter, all our other shopping stops were done in advance and on those days there was no time to stop for an early movie or even a meal at The Uptown.

We picked up our 12 pounds of butter and our 12 quarts of milk — in bottles— in the crate designed by the Co-op Creamery, and given to us for use on the promise that we would return the empty crate and washed bottles. In those days our regular order was 10 quarts of homogenized milk, one bottle of buttermilk for the pancakes and for the spoiled one in the house, one quart of chocolate milk. If our favourite dairy person were on duty, the spoiled one also received an ice cream treat.

We’d make a quick stop at Martha’s Coffee Bar for hamburgers to eat in the car and then head west on the highway to our home about an hour away. The perishables and frozen items were unpacked first, then the exteriors of the milk bottles were washed before they went into the fridge. The butter was put into the fridge drawer that held exactly 12 pounds, and then we proceeded to put away all the other groceries, washed the fruit, then stashed the paper bags for other uses long before recycling was fashionable.

All these years later I insist that the fruit be packed separately from the tin cans, that heavy items be double bagged for easier handling, and that frozen items be placed in a separate bag, and not in a bag with the toilet bowl cleaner or the still-hot barbecued chicken. The packers of today are pleasant and receptive to my directions.

Thus on a recent Saturday morning, on a trip of mercy to buy essentials for our house and for my sibling’s house, the bag bearing the chocolate ice cream treats held a place of honour in the seat beside me.

Perhaps it was their proximity or the favour in which I hold chocolate ice cream treats, but after meeting another vehicle in the same intersection, my main concern was not how I was being removed from my vehicle, but whether my ice cream treats would melt before they could be rescued by Housemate who had been summoned for that exact purpose.

No one seemed put out by my concern for ice cream treats and I was assured that Housemate was on his way. I left in the ambulance before he arrived, thus I had to trust my treats to the merciful care of others.

I am pleased to report that my treats did not melt nor did they pop out of their packaging — unlike the blueberries and potato chips that ranged freely throughout my crinkled vehicle.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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