Ice Cream with Juliette

Sheets of rain fell as if the heavens saved every drop of moisture for this particular moment in our corner of Florida. The deluge did not deter Juliette’s desire for Kilwin’s double chocolate fudge. So that’s where we were headed.

Luck did not favor us with a convenient parking spot. My granddaughter produced an umbrella from somewhere in the back seat. Grammy had enough excitement for the day, opting to stay in the relative safety of a warm, dry vehicle.

Jules grabbed my leg and we made a “waddle” from our parking space to the ice cream store.

It was impossible to find the perfect angle for our protection. I focused on her, sacrificing myself to Mother Nature’s cascades until we stumbled into the establishment.

“Why are your legs wet, grandpa?”

“Each raindrop is a kiss from the universe, baby. I think it loves me.”

“Don’t be silly. You did it wrong.” They grow skeptical quickly at her age.

Juliette made friends with the others who dawdled inside as the spring storm intensified. We ordered our single-scoops and found a postage stamp of defense against the elements under a small exterior overhang. I offered my extra-large fleece, wrapping us both in a single cocoon as the temperatures began to drop with the progress of the storm front.

We lingered longer than it took to consume our treats. When the rain showed no intention of diminishing, I peeled off my fleece, pressing smaller limbs into its arms and pulling the collar over her head.

By now, I gave up on any self-protection, holding the umbrella to give her as much shelter from the storm as I could. We dodged puddles until the safety of the car came into view. Grammy unlocked it and Juliette set a record for climbing into her seat.

There was a dry fleece waiting for her. A napkin cleared the remaining chocolate evidence from her lips. I turned on the seat heat and tried to keep from shivering all the way home.

Later, after story time and snuggling with Grammy, we were under warm covers, listening to the last remnants of the squall dance across the roof.

“Good day?” I asked as my granddaughter melted into my chest.

“Good day,” she yawned.

“I love you forever, baby,” I said.

“I love you forever, grandpa,” she repeated. “Brush your teeth.”