Growing up, my grandparents lived about two hours from us and we visited as often as possible. We would pack up after school on Friday afternoons and arrive just before dinner that evening. We would sit down as a family, a full spread laid out before us-pasta with homemade meat sauce, salad, rolls, vegetables, sometimes steaks right off the grill.
After dinner, we would take our places in the living room, the television tuned to whatever sporting event was on that night while my mom and grandmother chatted and my brother and I alternated telling our stories and showing off our toys to our grandparents.
As my dad and grandfather talked sports, my mom and grandmother would make their way back to the kitchen table, pulling the cribbage board and cards out from the desk drawer. My brother and I would follow, knowing what came with the nightly card game.
Even though we were full from dinner, the game meant that there would be more to eat-or drink, more accurately.
"Go get the ice cream from the freezer," my grandmother would say and within seconds, my brother and I would take off down the stairs, yanking open the deep freezer kept in the basement. The large five gallon tub of ice cream would often require teamwork to carry it back up, but she kept it on the bottom shelf so we could easily reach it.
By the time we would return to the kitchen, the blender would have been brought out from the back of the cabinet, plugged in and placed in the middle of the counter top.
My brother and I would push chairs to the edge of the counter and climb atop so we could reach. Taking her ice cream scoop, my grandmother would roll big scoops of vanilla ice cream and drop them into the blender. A few splashes of milk were next, followed by my brother or I squeezing the bottle of Hershey's on top of everything until either my mom or grandmother decided that was enough.
My brother and I would press all of the buttons on the blender, not knowing the difference between "pulse" and "blend". When it was thoroughly mixed, my grandmother would pull down the tall glasses from the top shelf and evenly disperse the contents of the blender. We would grab straws and sit down to enjoy our desert.
The slurping of the straws was intertwined with calls of "fifteen-two, fifteen-four" until the mix of carbs and the long car ride became too much for us, and we gave in to a sweet, sugar induced slumber.