As a child I hated this job: it was nother better than captivity with a cold bum. I would slouch and scowl and sulk over the latest exclusion by my sister and her age appropriate cousin-playmate, something I lacked in this branch of family. Dad would usually lose patience with my dour face and threaten to make me churn rather than serve as precarious ballast for the ancient, rickety ice cream churn. That shut me up fast. But I hated that job. I know better now.
My cold bum tingles and I stuggle to stay aboard as the ice cream hardens and the churn bucks and shivers. Dad is groaning and trying to pressgang some boy cousin into taking over. I scrunch my toes and pry up deck slivers. Grandma fusses and swipes at passing faces with her ever handy damp rag. Small Ella staggers past, trying to keep up with all the other littles. She trips over my feet and tries again. Liv and Luz twirl for Grandpa. He hums Vivaldi under his breath. The interrogating aunts have congregated and my sister is hunting for cover. The Jeremy Uncle is probably ensconced in the bathroom. Uncles Tim and Dal taunt my sore-armed father. Boy cousins play Annie-Ay-Over and the Sarah cousin defeats them all. There is the thrum of babies and fifty-six feet and the clatter of dishes and misguided balls. There is us and we and a symphony and then there is ice cream and me in the middle. And it is good. It is good.