Every time I saw Grandpa, there was one thing we always did. From the picture and title, you already know what.
The first problem was finding a place that made them. This used to be an easy task even in Kittson County given that Hallock had a Dairy Whirl (?) just outside of town. During summer this place would always be so busy. Winter meant that it was closed, closed, closed.
Then there was North Dakota not far away. Pembina had a place (Tastee Freez?) that served lots of ice cream as well. As the years went by it got harder and harder to find places since the old places closed up. Towards the end it almost became impossible.
The tradition starts younger than I can remember. That would mean it is somewhere around when I turned 5 or 6. I couldn’t tell you who had the idea either. I loved banana splits growing up so I probably inspired it.
Grandpa would always ask about when we were going. It was something I always looked forward to. We would have contests to see who would finish first. There wasn’t a prize but rather just the right to say who had finished first.
The quality of banana splits varied greatly but it really didn’t matter. It was a simple tradition that Grandpa and I shared over all the years that we spent together. Even when he came to visit us in Tucson he would still insist that we go out and get some banana splits.
It wasn’t until I was older that I actually gave him a run for his money on finishing. Of course, when I was young he would sometimes make it easier for me to finish before him.
It probably didn’t do his health any great wonders. This was all before the focus on heart disease and avoiding high fat foods. Towards the end of our tradition, I would sometimes wonder if we should stop.
I’m not sure the last time that we bought banana splits. It was probably in Phoenix when my grandparents came to visit Mom. It might have been after then but I couldn’t say clearly. One of the last times, I remember going to Cold Rock with them.
Grandpa had a heart attack and later a stroke in 2003. I have seen him since then but things have changed. I’m not sure he recognizes me, and when I talked with him I could not get through.
Here’s to brighter times Grandpa. The next time I get a chance, I’m going to buy a banana split and remember our ice cream times together.