Waiting and Willing

The humidity was thick and clung to my skin, pink from too much sun.

My golden hair hung down my back, the undermost strands stuck to my skin, trapped in the baby fat folds of my neck.

Humid, sticky summer afternoons meant Fla-Vor-Ice pops.

There was a ritual to it, one that defined the summers of my early childhood.

We waited while my mother took a kitchen knife and sliced of the top quarter of an inch of each pop.  We ate those hard, fruity bits there in the dark, cool refuge of the kitchen.

We would then run outside, thanks yous floating over our shoulders, where we would lay our two Flo-Vor-Ice pops on our sun-washed brown front steps, open end resting on the door jamb to prevent spilling, certain that they would melt faster in the full sun.  My mother allowed us two each. I always chose red, the other purple, sometimes green.  We never called them by their flavors, cherry, grape, lime.

We would lay them out and desperately try to wait to eat them.  Our routine never varied…we would eat our second-favorite first, letting the other soften to near-slush consistency.  They would glisten in the intense sunshine as the frost would begin to thaw, first where our fingertips had held them, then around the edges.

We were never terribly patient, which meant that the first pop was fairly firm, with just a tiny bit of the juice left to sip at the end.  We would upend the long tubes, draining every last drop of sugary, syrupy sweetness into our mouths.

Then we would wait, poking at the remaining pops, willing them to soften.  We’d press our fingers against them, testing them for give.  Then we’d flip them over and try to distract ourselves, allowing them time to soften.

When our pops were finally squishy enough, they were slushy and slid across our tongues, into our cheeks, and down our throats.  Anticipated for so long, yet gone in seconds.

My memories of waiting and willing those Fla-Vor-Ice pops to soften are some of the happiest of my childhood.

Pure childhood joy.

I still buy a box of Fla-Vor-Ice pops every summer, so eager to recapture that innocent joy of childhood.  I eat no more than four or five of them and the rest just sit until the next summer, when I replace them with my new box.

Just a glimpse of the red, purple, and green pops in the freezer takes me back to those long, humid, summer afternoons where our biggest concern was whether or not our pops were squishy enough to eat.

The meaning is no longer in the pop itself, but in the vivid memory of my mother in the kitchen, the anticipation of the pop, and in the savoring of every moment.

This post was inspired by this week’s writing prompt over at The Red Dress Club, which invited us to write about one of two photos.  I chose this one.


  1. Rebekah C. thoughtfulmomma.com

    Oh my goodness, how we LOVED those things! My children love them, too. Wonderful post!

  2. We have those here too. Even GC loves to eat them. I think he gets more enjoyment out of them then the kids do sometimes.

    You had me wanting one, with your detailed descriptions. It was like I was there, doing these things, exactly as you described;

  3. BringUpBee bringingupbronwyn.com

    We had Otter Pops. Very rarely did my mom buy them, but if we didn't have them I could always find them at a neighbors!

  4. Elizabeth Flora Ross efloraross.com

    That's a great memory! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Cheryl @ Mommypants mommypants.com

    When I was training for marathon #2, it was wicked hot and when we finished a 20-mile training run – in 95 degree heat – someone had otter pops and OMG there was nothing better. I mean – NOTHING!

  6. Surferwife

    Ohhh, ok. This post isn't what I was expecting. It was actually a lovely post about your fond childhood memories. My otter pop/ flav-o-ice is just verbal vomit.

  7. Peggy Sheehan

    Have you thought about writing a book? Seriously, I never get tired of reading your writings. This was written like the beginning of a book, making me want to read more. You're awesome Nichole.

  8. naturegirl21

    I've never heard of those, perhaps they weren't available in Canada. I remember taking these jucie boxes (juice was a relative term…it was more like suger water with coloring LOL) freezing them and then eating them with spoons. Homemade slushies!

    Ahhh…I love summer and all things about it.

  9. kris

    Oh my goodness. I prefer the Otter Pop, but the rest of this post?

    Just perfection.

    This post makes me want to know more about you as a little girl, more about your childhood, more about your mother. More about that kitchen, more about those sun-washed brown front steps.

    More about everything.

    You are growing more and more magical in your abilities, Nichole.

    Just so you know.

  10. ksluiter

    I LOVE this post! I totally pictured myself as you because my mom would also buy fla-vor-pops for us! And I still have some in the freezer that I bought for this summer! Eddie and I would sit on the deck (him in nothing but a diaper) and share two pops. mmmm! Then i would rinse him in his pool. Ah, such great memories!

  11. ericka alabastercow.com

    Hold the phone. You were a Flav-Vor-Ice pop junkie too?? And I remember my mom would cut the tops off with scissors and you'd always have to eat the little piece first before it melted. Ah, you're taking me back! :)

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