My dad used to make us milkshakes every once in a while when I was younger.
We had this old blender, the kind that used to be everywhere in the 1960s, with a tall square-cross-sectioned glass chamber that had a little propeller blade at the bottom and a base full of buttons that stood up about half an inch from its surface. There was a semiflexible rubberish sort of lid that kept whatever you were blending more or less inside. The whole thing weighed more than he did and sounded like a pier full of cargo ships unloading bolts in a hurry when in use, but it was more reliable than a geyser and powerful enough to chop concrete.
He also used it to make eggnog around the holidays, sometimes.
My brother and I would always look forward to milkshake nights. My dad would haul out the blender and a jug of milk, find the ice cream in the freezer, and unearth the bottle of Hershey’s syrup from wherever it was hiding. I think there were ice cubes in there too, or – to judge from the noise – possibly rocks. Whatever.
He’d toss it all together and fire up the blender and maybe a minute or two later there it would be – a homemade chocolate milkshake of epic memory, sweet and still frothy from the blender.
Those were always good nights.
He’s been gone three years now, and that simple fact always comes as a bit of a surprise to me. It feels like yesterday. It feels like forever. I suppose that’s how it always is with this sort of thing, but it’s still news to me.
Tonight I had a milkshake in his honor.
It was not homemade, but it was nevertheless tasty and a nice way to remember.
And that’s all it needed to be.