Summer's Last Sweet Gasp

How do you lure the kids back to the farm? With local, organic ice cream, of course

And so there's a certain universal timelessness available, if you only avail yourself of it before complaints about the mosquitoes and the humidity are replaced by complaints about the cold and how apple-orchard season flew by yet again.

Here's my suggestion: Get your ice cream, nay, get the decadence of a five-scoop sampler, for merely $3.50--and they're little scoops, about the same as two regular ones, but still--doesn't it sound extravagantly rich? Carry it down Chicago towards the crick (Minnehaha Creek, for you geographical sticklers). On the way down Chicago, look for hummingbird feeders and planters of flamingo-colored hibiscus opened as wide as they can bear. Look for squirrels poised on the top of Tudor gables, leaping into the last of our precious elm trees, above lighted windows showing a man watching football and a woman sewing. Look for the last houses in America with un-ironic white picket fences, American flags, and butterfly gardens.

When you get to the crick, follow it west as the path touches again and again our little urban river, look for willow branches, ever drooping as they touch the dark water, look for families lighting off Jumping Jacks near their portable basketball hoops, as Grandma crouches in the glass porch. And above all, look for the gigantic brass bunny. Did you know about the brass bunny? I didn't. He--or she, I suppose--lives near the southeast corner of Portland and the crick. He has a head the size of an elephant's, eyes the size of dinner plates, and the kind of back that can support an entire family reunion.

Midwestern reverie: Lenna and Maia Johnson and Pumphouse's creamy, fudgy finest
Jana Freiband
Midwestern reverie: Lenna and Maia Johnson and Pumphouse's creamy, fudgy finest

I found him as I walked and wandered after a Pumphouse Creamery visit one night, and as I saw it I dripped some ice cream on a fresh mosquito bite on my leg. I knelt down to wipe up this ridiculously perfect summer moment, mosquito, ice cream, sneaker, and as I did the bronze bunny's majestic ears rose up into the speckled and rustling canopy of trees, and I thought, "Oh, this town. This beautiful, beautiful town."

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