Mars, Venus, and Ice Cream
by S Martha Montevallo
April 2001

Years ago, when I had small children, I lived at Fort Irwin, California, the second most isolated post in the lower forty-eight. Barstow was nearly fifty miles away, it was before cars were air-conditioned, and I was pretty much stuck there for six years.

On a visit to my parents in Florida, we were coming home from an outing when my father decided we should take a half-gallon of ice cream home. He offered to go to a place that claimed to have a profusion of flavors and get whatever I wanted, but he wasn't willing to take me and/or the children into the crowed ice cream parlor.

"What flavor would you like?" My mind took me back to the commissary at Fort Irwin with its vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, reduced to only vanilla, sometimes none, between shipments.

"Peppermint or caramel or rocky road or coffee or raspberry swirl or lime sherbet or pineapple sherbet or pecan brittle orů" I named quite a number, not including vanilla, strawberry or chocolate, reading off the list of exotic selections in the window of the store. Thus armed, he went in.

"They didn't have half gallons, so I got two quarts."

"What flavor?"


"What's the other one?"


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