By Norris Chambers

             Clifton and I decided it was time for another fishing trip. When the weather was decent we often got the urge to head for the creek and do a little fun fishing – not necessarily the serious type. These trips usually meant camping overnight on the creek bank and stringing a few trot lines. On most of these ventures we caught a few fish, but on all trips we had fun. Our normal group was three or four of Clifton ’s younger brothers and maybe a couple of visitors. No grown-ups accompanied us.

            The first step was to load the old Model T truck with a boat, a seine and plenty of food. All night long there had to be hot coffee on the fire and something in the camp to nibble on when hunger pangs approached. On this particular trip we decided to make ice cream. We had never done that before, but what could be so difficult about turning the crank and dishing out some nice vanilla ice cream?

            My mother mixed up the milk and cream and added the correct amount of sugar and vanilla. We brought out the old 5 quart freezer and made plans to stop by the general store and get a block of ice. We also packed a generous supply of bacon and smoked ham and a paper sack full of corn bread. An old iron pot and a good supply of beans completed our dining supplies. Our dinnerware consisted of a few tin plates and cups along with an assortment of forks and spoons.

            Clifton ’s younger brothers, Clyde and Carl, and a cousin named Jake, loaded in the truck and we headed for the creek with our goodies and a 50 pound block of ice. This was to be a fun trip!

            We pulled off of the county road and drove around the edge of a field to our usual camping spot on the banks of the creek. While Clifton and I unloaded the truck and got the boat ready for the water the younger boys went up the creek to find wood for the fire. The fire was important because we needed to get the beans in the pot and on the fire. They soon returned with arms full of tree limbs and old drift wood. The fire began to smoke and smell like a camp fire.

            Clifton told Clyde that he was in charge of the camp while we took the boat and put the trot lines in the water. He told him to go ahead and start the ice cream and maybe it would be done by the time we returned. A few drags of the seine across the shallow end of a long water hole provided enough minnows for several baitings of the lines. We angled the trot lines across the creek for about a quarter of a mile and then on the way back to camp we baited every hook with a minnow.  We would check them in three or four hours.

            When we got back to camp Jake was sitting on the ice cream freezer and Carl was turning the crank.

            “Is it about ready?” Clifton asked. Clyde said it didn’t seem to be freezing like it should. Then he explained that we had not taken any salt. We all knew that you put a layer of chipped ice and a layer of salt when making ice cream.

            “Do you think the salt would make that much difference?” He asked.

            “Salt makes it freeze quicker,” I told him. “But I guess it will freeze. It will just take longer.” He said he hoped so and the cranking continued.

            About an hour later there was no indication that the cream was freezing. After a brief discussion we decided that it wasn’t going to freeze and we decided to have a cold mixture drink instead of a bowl of ice cream. The sweetened and flavored milk was pretty good and we soon disposed of the whole gallon.

            The beans were boiling nicely and we knew we would have a good supper.

            It was two years later when we learned in a general science class why we had to have salt to make ice cream. The salt causes the ice to melt and when melting it absorbs heat from the mixture in the can. Eventually enough heat is removed from the liquid to cause it to freeze. The rotation of the can as the crank is turned stirs the cream and keeps it from freezing and sticking to the inside of the can. Without anything to cause rapid melting of the ice our ice cream never froze and we had a cool drink instead. We learned that science lesson the hard way.

            We did catch plenty of fish and no science class had to tell us how to do that.

            Of course all fishing trips are fun. This one might have been more fun with ice cream. But as I told Clifton , “Don’t cry over spilt milk – or unfrozen milk!”

            On the next trip we took the salt.