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essays and anecdotes of small towns and open roads

  • Writer's pictureHabranthus

Sharing Ice Cream


I was sitting with my husband on the patio one day last summer. He was on the phone with a client and I was eating a bowl of ice cream. Sitting up in front of me, staring at my ice cream, were two of our dogs. So I would eat a few bites, then give each one of the dogs a bite, and I did this for a little bit when I saw my husband with an angry face making gestures at me. I thought we were making too much noise because I was talking to the dogs and they were making slurping noises. So I tried to be quieter. But still he was angry. Finally, he said to his client, “Just a minute”, and put his phone on mute. He said to me, “Mary! You are letting the dogs lick that spoon and then you are putting it back in your mouth! That is so nasty! Don’t do that!” Then he returned to his client on the phone. All I could do was laugh, and at that moment a memory came to me:

I was 15-years old, in the car with my aunt Sandra. We had been to the Dairy Queen to get ice cream cones and were in the car eating them. Her dog, Freddy, was in the back seat, hanging his head over to the front seat. My aunt would lick her ice cream a little while, then let Freddy have a couple of licks, then she would continue eating, etc. I didn’t think anything of it. That’s just the way we did. Plus, in the 80’s, there was an urban legend going around that dogs’ mouths were cleaner than human mouths. That’s what they were saying and we just took it for fact.


When my husband finished his phone call, I said, “Sorry, Honey. That’s just the way I grew up.” He said, “I know. You’re half hillbilly.” I’ve been sharing spoons and forks with my dogs my whole life and I’m still alive and well.

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