At age 70 I may have solved one of the little mysteries of my childhood.
When I was young my grandfather was the postmaster of Glen Ferris, West Virginia. The post office was located within our company store, so Grandpop also ran the store. If he wasn’t sitting at his desk behind the postal cage, he was standing behind the counter of the store in a white butcher’s apron waiting on customers.
I loved to go into the store and visit Grandpop. I also loved popsicles. Against a back wall of the store sat a long, low freezer like the one Aunt Bea had on her back porch in The Andy Griffith Show. It contained varieties of ice cream. I would open the heavy top and look into that freezer often because I had noticed that sometimes one or two of the popsicles were broken.
Two attached “pops” on sticks constituted one popsicle, but sometimes only one half remained in the wrapper. I called them “extra halves,” and when I found one I knew no customer would buy it; therefore, it was free. My friends and I enjoyed many extra halves as well as the thrill of finding them in Grandpop’s freezer.
This morning I was remembering those days and I thought: How did the extra halves get into the freezer? Who ate the missing halves of the popsicles? A customer wouldn’t have paid for a popsicle and left half of it in the store.
It had to be Grandpop!
Maybe my grandfather munched on part of a popsicle while he stocked the shelves or had a few minutes between customers and then put the rest into the freezer for later. Or maybe he did it for me, knowing I had discovered a great treasure in those abandoned pieces. That mystery won’t be solved, but either way, imagining my grandpop in his store apron, bending over to put popsicle parts in the freezer so many years ago, gave me a smile.