Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Memories: The Iceman Cometh

Florence's ice trays circa 1960-something

It's quite hard to find ice trays like these anymore.

I had already broken the plastic ones I had. So when the new tenants moved into Florence's new refrigerator and kitchen, I moved these out.

Of all the smattering of items I took from Florence's, these hid unexpected memories.

With so few treats allowed except on Friday nights, ice was as treasured as candy. And with the suspicion of doctors and the fear of hospitals, it was also as important as aspirin.

With such promises of refreshment and restoration, those trays were not to be trifled with.

The trays' handle would be pulled back like a slingshot and if all went well, the ice would crackle and break into cubes. This never happened. Tap water and a couple to many bangs of the tray on the stove loosened the frozen water enough to be enjoyed like ice cream during the summer or placed in a bowl of soup too hot to eat.

If the trays were being deployed for medical emergencies, such as a broken arm or spinal meningitis, the ice bag, the kind you'd see in comic strips like Andy Capp, would be brought out with full and firm belief that once filled from the trays, all maladies would vanish. On the rare occasions they didn't, a surrender would be hurriedly made in a taxi rushing to the emergency room, usually right before it was too late.

Now, refrigerators make ice and preemptive doctor visits make more sense.

And ice bags, needed for healing body parts, come so equipped, they make my old ice trays look like pencil and paper compared to a NASA computer.

The cat thinks the machine is the vacuum cleaner's baby, and thus the spawn of the devil. It is ravenous for ice, which has the Mariner running so frequently to the bodega for ice at all hours of the day and night, that the minute he rushes in the guys automatically ring up two bags of already made, perfectly cubed ice.

Memories may be made from time spent healing, but none will be found in cubes of such perfection. So when this is all over, those trays will be filled again with stories from Her New York.