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Ernie and Arnie Get Together and Call Themselves an Institute…

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Admittedly, there are some things that are not good enough to amuse a child.

And there is compelling truth in the belief that everybody is beautiful in their own way.

But, there is also such a thing as “selfie elbow.”

And we really can’t deny there are those moments where what looms largest is the unconquerable anxiety when children are involved…

Yet, thankfully, it is still ok to slow down and stop even – to appreciate the good things hidden in the quiet…

Ahhh – but then there is also the sheer, unvarnished pleasure we get from hearing the squeals of delight from our wee ones!!

So – this story is aimed at that – some something that might spark those squeals…

And so, the setting is summertime, like here we are right now…

And if I say “31 Flavors” what do you think?

And when I say, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for _______________” What do you say?

You scream it though, right? Top-oh-yo-lungs!!

You pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down?

Alright. Alright. We’re in the neighborhood, right? You remember the neighborhood… and that truck – that truck with the window on the side, and that one-of-a-kind music…then the truck would stop…

This is the story of that…

Little kids who lived a 100 years ago or more…do you think they’d like some ice cream?

What? Like they gonna say, “No thanks, Tom Hanks!!” Haaaa – I don’t think so – that’s not what they sayin…

So – should we make ice cream eating a sport? We’ve made hot dog eating a sport. What about making ice cream eating a sport? Naah. I’m not wishing an ice cream headache on anyone! Let’s just leave it like it is right now, yeah? We enjoy ice cream – and the fun of eating it. It’s an automatic qualifier as recreation and leisure, right?

But – ice cream is a choice!

Wow! Big downer there. Sorry.

But while we’re off the ice cream high we just had a minute ago – let’s talk about history a little bit.

I know. I know. Almost time for nap.

Waaaaaaaaaaaiit. Please? This really is interesting. And it’s still about ice cream…

I mentioned 100 years ago or more. And kids then…

Back in the summer of – 1904, precisely – at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO. There were a couple of vendors selling their wares from booths at the fair. There was Ernie from Syria – {real guy, Ernest Hamwi, Syrian immigrant} who, in 1904, at the St. Louis World’s Fair – was selling hot Persian waffles to – who?

It was summertime – hot waffles in the summer? Huh? Yeah, no kidding. Ernie wasn’t selling very many at all.

One of my uncles was named Ernie. But this was not him.

So – waffle sales in the summer…slow. Very slow.

But right next door, in the booth right beside him – aye, yi, yi!!! Aye yi yi!!!!! There was Arnie. Arnie from Italy {also a real guy – Arno Fornachau}. Arnie – from Italy, or France, or Spain, probably Italy – and, he was selling…ice cream. Yeah, man! He was selling ice cream – summertime, the cool of ice cream…oooh, yeah! Gotsta love it! So, he was selling ice cream, like…– um, hotcakes?

Ohhh, you’re soooo good! You can see it coming right…Ernie and Arnie ought to get together, and call themselves an institute…

As fate would have it, here’s how it went down…Arnie ran out of plates. He still had the ice cream, plenty – but he had no plates to serve it on…

Ernie, eager as he was to catch some glow of attention, he stepped right up…clever fellow…

Ernie rolled up one of his waffles – and offered it to Arnie as a substitute.

Haaaahhhhhh! Yep! The ice cream cone was born! Right there. Necessity as the mother of invention – the idea of the waffle as a cone was quickly copied by other vendors, and it spread throughout the World’s Fair patrons and vendors. After the fair – yep – the waffle cone became a coast-to-coast smash hit idea!!!

And today, all across America, about one-third of all the ice cream served this summer is licked off cones. Hmmmmm-hmmm!! – one of America’s favorite summertime treats!!!

Sources: Beyer, R. (2003). The greatest stories never told. Harper Collins: New York

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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