You all know the Icee. The frozen slush drink of the corner convenience store. When I was a young'un, the Icee was a wondrous treat. In the summertimes of the early 60's, the Icee was winter in a cup. There was no better way to cool off than with one of these little treats.
Us kids would cycle down to the store once we were old enough to ride our bicycles on the service road. We'd scrounge enough Coke bottles at 2 cents per, and turn our deposit money into an Icee. Or, if we were with Grandma, we'd beg like puppies until she relented and coughed up a dime. They came in three sizes. Dime, fifteen cents, and the Quarter size. We'd normally spring for the dime size, cause we were continually broke. Occasionally, the fifteen cent Icee got the nod, if we were feeling flush with change.
The Quarter Icee was extravagant. No one needed that much brain-freeze. The cups stacked up at toward the back of the machine and tempted us, but were completely out of reach in our persistent poverty. There is nothing more broke, more poverty stricken, more devoid of loose cash than a ten year old kid.
In high school, the fashion changed. No one would be seen with an Icee. Oh, we had the money, little as it was with our afternoon jobs. Working ten hours a week at the princely wage of $2.00 per hour, other purchases were considered more important. And the Icee just wasn't cool for a high-school man. It was a kid's drink suitable only for Elementary and Junior High.
When we got to college, we learned that the Icee had additional utility. By adding liquor, you had a frozen beverage with snap. I never recall seeing a frozen margarita during my college days, but the standard cola Icee with a shot of Jim Beam could cool you off with the added benefit of being able to carry it anywhere. The strawberry Icee with a shot of vodka was proper for the ladies. Yet the Quarter Icee eluded us. It was too big, too extravagant. To get the proper Icee/booze mixture required too much of the hooch in the Quarter size. The fifteen cent was just about right.
Fast forward forty years, and I am at a convenience store, filling up the truck. Going inside for the restroom I happen to spot the old familiar Icee machine. I walked up to it, and grabbed the big cup. The Quarter. I put it under the spigot and turned the handle, listening to that old familiar squirting sound, then stopped, found the half-dome lid, installed it, and filled the cup to the brim.
I walked to the counter, got the cashier's attention, and dropped a Quarter on the counter.
"What's that?" he asked.
I held up the cup.
No, sir. That is $1.29."
As I rummaged through my wallet, I realized one universal truth. With all my age and experience. With the ability to make a decent living, provide for my family, drive a nice vehicle, and keep a positive balance in my checkbook, I still cannot buy a Quarter Icee.