Tuesday at McNulty’s

Written By: Linda Sardone

Tuesday at McNulty’s As the early afternoon sun rose overhead, the temperature hovered in the mid-90’s. Humid. Unbearably brutal weather. The staggering heat spell was not leaving us any time soon. People were moving about either too quickly or too slowly in response to Mother Nature’s assault. After several sleepy days in our Sound Beach summer home, we decided to punctuate our stay by visiting McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor in Miller Place. It was the perfect denouement to a mini Eat Fest which included some lovely baked bread by the Friary in Mount Sinai, vodka from Liv in Calverton, Roanoake wines and a seafood and bison burger lunch from Lobster Roll Northside. McNulty’s is an old-fashioned and well-stocked ice cream parlor, with tables and chairs inside and candy-colored Adirondack chairs and umbrellas outside. Ice cream lover that I am, I can always justify my reason(s) for an immediate ice cream fix, in a most articulate, vociferous, and persuasive manner…but on this day, the weather dictated only one objective: ice cream, now, any way I could get it! So, as we approached the entrance to McNulty’s, a female voice called out, “Excuse me”. I turned in response to see a similar-in-age woman seated in her car, explaining that she had Parkinson’s, was not very steady on her feet, and that her stomach was upset. She wanted ice cream, and would I be kind enough to purchase it for her, as she handed me several dollar bills. Vanilla was her choice of the day, after considering other flavors and combinations. We explained to the young girl inside McNulty’s what our mission was for that moment, and we noticed that she was extremely generous with her portion for our friend in the parking lot. Our new friend was truly grateful. A brief conversation ensued, covering a medley of topics: ice cream, of course, local traffic and roads, and health. A very sweet, very sensitive lady. She thanked us, we wished her well, and went in for a small hot fudge sundae and an over-the-top root beer float. Behind us entered a young family, including a young boy with Down Syndrome. I smiled at him. Mom had gathered up her troop for a summer afternoon treat, and all were on their best behavior. Across the floor was a young boy and his dad, laughing over their goodies, and dripping all over the table. Upon leaving, an elderly woman with a cane stood in the shade outside, waiting for her daughter to park the car before enjoying their special time together. We exchanged pleasantries and continued on our journey. The weather remained hot as we drove on in our 15- year-old Volvo wagon. I made another mental note about dealing with the peeling paint on the hood – either have a professional repaint or self-spray. I thought about what ice cream meant to me over the years…I thought about Louie the Good Humor Man when I was growing up… Louie of the perpetual tan…. Louie who spent his winters in Florida thanks to our hard-earned 25- cent allowances spent on double-stick ices (cherry-lime or raspberry-orange) or chocolate chip candy bars. I thought about the Bungalow Bar truck by my grandparents in Queens, and those wonderful chocolate sprinkles which they called “jimmies”. Carvel on summer weekends with my favorite aunt and uncle meant Brown Bonnets or Peppermint Twist Cones. Teenage years , and later, dating, were spent at Baskin Robbins (Rocky Road Sundaes) or Friendly’s (Mint Chocolate Chip in cones), especially once we were able to drive alone. My husband gets a Special Mention Award here because his solitary culinary masterpiece was a butter-fried banana with cinnamon that was placed over vanilla ice cream, lovingly made when I wasn’t feeling well one afternoon. Let’s also not forget the maiden voyage of my ice cream making machine, which made a gooey product though tasty, was expensive, time-consuming, and disappointing in the amount produced. Or the blunder of both my parents and my in-laws one year, each buying a separate ice cream birthday cake for my husband who really doesn’t like ice cream cake at all! Happily, ice cream has been a constant in different phases of my life, and remains so to this day. I submit that ice cream is the Great Unifier. Love of ice cream knows no boundaries, and transcends age, race, sex, religion, anger, moodiness and ability. Maybe ice cream should be a “weapon of peace” to be seriously considered by our illustrious world leaders. It defines peace and happiness. Is a happier world worth the extra calories? Unequivocally, yes! Linda J. Sardone 576 Lincoln Ave. W Hempstead, NY 11552 (H) 516-489-4950 (c) 516-993-5294