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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Banana Popsicles

Every day, after attending Trinity Academy Primary School in Edinburgh, Scotland, I had to walk through Victoria Park to get home. In winter, the walk home was treacherous and bitter cold. Even though I wore warm gloves, a hat, and heavy coat, the icy wind penetrated them like they were made of paper, turning my flesh red with the cold. The streets were covered with a thin layer of glassy ice, causing me to slip with nearly every small footstep I took. Ice carpeted the grass and it crunched when I walked across the top of it. Sometimes the gutters were snow-covered and I stepped into them, my feet going down into three inches of hidden slush that ran into my shoes like an overflowing bathtub.

On days when it rained, my school uniform would be saturated. The gray skirt and socks, black shoes, yellow and gray tie, white shirt and gray sweater, would soon start to emit a damp wool smell, which is not a pleasant one. My long brown-hair pigtails that had been lovingly tied with pale yellow ribbons hung like ropes tied with dead worms.

When springtime came everything was different. The walk home was glorious. Bright yellow daffodils and glossy red tulips lined the paths. Ladybugs, with their black dotted wings, flew from blades of green grass to newly budding leaves growing on trees that had stood for centuries. Bees buzzed by carrying pollen, matted on their legs, and butterflies fluttered to wherever saw color.

The most enjoyable thing about walking home in spring was when Mr. McGregor set up his ice cream cart in Victoria Park. Each day, I’d sit at my desk in school, waiting with anticipation for the time when I could leave. I was often agitated by the wait, and my teacher, Mrs. Kirby, would have to discipline me for not sitting still. My outward appearance would seem to quiet right down, sometimes I’d even put on a frown. I’d hide the mischievous glimmer that was normally in my eyes, but inside I bubbled with anticipation and delight as I watched the minutes pass on the clock up on the wall.

Each morning my father gave me enough money to buy myself an ice cream at Mr. McGregor’s cart. Each afternoon I’d run through the park and stand at his cart, looking into the freezer, trying to decide what I would have. There were so many choices to select from - ice cream sandwiches, chocolate-covered, vanilla, ice cream bars, cones filled with ice cream and covered with nuts on top, and two cookies (or biscuits as they are called in Scotland) with vanilla or chocolate ice cream stuffed between them. But my favorite treats of all were the banana popsicles. They were creamy and delicious and I always picked them over anything else. Mr. McGregor knew that no matter how much I pretended that I might get something different, I’d always take a banana popsicle. He’d always make sure he had at least one in his cart for me. Sometimes he ran out of other things, but never those.

I’d take it out of the freezer and peel the clear plastic wrapper off, always being careful to put it in the little bag Mr. McGregor had hanging on the cart for rubbish. I’d hold on to the stick and raise the creamy yellow treat into my watering mouth. I could smell the banana flavor before I tasted it. When my taste buds finally caught the sensation of deliciousness, I would smile and go ‘mmmmmmmmmmmm’. Mr. McGregor would always laugh at my excitement over a mere stick of creamy ice.

Many years have passed and still, whenever I eat a banana popsicle, memories come flooding back into my mind of springtime, Mr. McGregor, Victoria Park, and Mrs. Kirby. Somehow though, the popsicles tasting much more delicious back then.

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