We can recall the days like they were yesterday.
Summer afternoons are stifling with heat and humidity. Sweat is raining down like a hurricane. Running through sprinklers brings laughter and a cool sweet treat is melting at our fingertips.
Those hot summer days, I’d run through my Nana’s white clapboard house to the back porch. The porch had screened in windows, a wood floor and a white freezer that I deemed magical. I’d climb up the step stool, lean over and pick a color. Like every eager child of my generation and the ones before, I was searching for the frozen pop known as the Freezie.
Whether it’s a Southern ritual or a childhood rite of passage, we all had the secret obsession (and still do) with the frozen treat.
Freezies are basically flavored sugar water in a plastic wrapper. When placed in the freezer overnight, it magically ices.
Your dentist might tell you it’s nothing more than a cavity maker. You don’t care. It’s cool, refreshing, sweet and makes you feel like a kid.
It’s so simple and plain yet so appealing.
My summers were spent grabbing for the brand of freezies known as the Chilly Willy. Maybe it was the little boy’s smiling face on the yellow box and clear wrapper that drew me and everyone else I knew to the snack.
Remember him? Here’s what you probably didn’t know: That little freeze pop was named after a cartoon penguin of the same name. Created in 1953, the penguin known as Chilly lived in Alaska and the television show centered around his search for a place to stay warm and his fondness for pancakes.
Sadly, the Chilly Willy brand of freezies are no longer made. But not to worry, plenty of other companies have jumped in to sell their own versions and have done so for decades. Other brands include Fun Pops, Fla-Vor-Ice, Pop-ice, Mr Freeze, and so on.
Regardless of the brand, you know the ritual. Buy. Freeze. Select Color. Crunch on the ice. Drink the melted ice. Throw away the wrapper. Try to find a way to earn another one. Repeat process.
You know the color you select is everything and you most certainly have a preference. Pink. Purple. Red. Green. Yellow. Orange. Blue. All the colors of the rainbow. They all have actual flavors, but all you really pay attention to are the colors.
You know what happens if you are not careful. The wrapper can cut into the side of your mouth. Cue the tears.
It’s time to be a kid again. Find a freezie. Spend time outside. Enjoy the simplicity of it all.