As the days grow warmer, the small stands scattered all around the town open for a new season of ice cream business.
Who doesn't love these cold delights, that taste so good on a hot summer day. I recall times when ice cream could only be ordered in ice cream parlors, candy stores or cafes. This was before the presence of large supermarkets and stores that carry frozen groceries year around.
I have a lot of fond memories tied to ice cream. Most of them include delightful moments in my childhood, such as buying my very first scoops when I was six years old or walking home with my father after purchasing a multi-coloured ice cream and singing a home made rhyme about it. And later from my teens, enjoying a vanilla soft ice cream, dipped in chocolate, on the way home from a day at the beach with my family.
Nevertheless, the first significant memory takes me back to my early childhood and to my grandparents in the grand old city of Prague. Every summer, when the school was over, I stayed in this picturesque city with the parents of my father during a few weeks. The recollection of this time is one of the most precious memories that I carry with me today.
Much of the days were spend in the company of my sister and my grandfather (or děda, as he was called), who was an avid photographer. It is through his eyes, and that of his lens, that I saw the city and learned much about its majestic history on long walks we often took. The highlight of many of these strolls was a stop in a small cafe, just below the stairs to the Prague Castle. Here my grandfather would buy us a soft pistachio ice cream in a waffle cone. Not a chocolate or vanilla, or any fruity taste, but pistachio, which one might assume to a be strange flavour for a child. But it was not. At that time in my life I had no idea that this flavour came from pistachio nuts, which I did not get to taste until much later in life. Even today as I write this, the memories come streaming back so freely and I can recollect with such an ease the scents and sounds of the old city and the way the green coloured cream would melt on my tongue.
Unfortunately, I did not get to experience my grandparents, none of them, as an adult. Today all I have are snippets of vivid memories, that I cherish, as I revisit them in my mind. Often I wish I would be granted a chance to spend just a day with my grandfather, who I have been told I very much resemble. Many of his traits and interests reflect my own.
Perhaps even my love for nature and interests in photography are passed on from him. The longing to see and capture the world around me through a camera lens might very well have been born on those long summer walks in Prague. During those precious moments in time, while I strolled along side my "děda" on the old cobbled stone streets, with a pistachio ice cream in my hand.
About this photograph: Unfortunately, I do not own one single picture of my grandfather, even though I know some exist in my family's keeping. He loved being the photographer, thus rarely appears on any pictures himself. This one of me, my sister and my cousin was taken by him in August 1972. I am the one on the left, my sister is that little one on the right. Even though my grandfather is not present in image, I know he is present in spirit, as he is the one standing behind the camera.