Sometimes the childhood memories come in drips. Other times they come in waves. Driving back from the Saratoga County DMV Friday afternoon here in Saratoga they came in a swell.
On a day that felt more like late July than the last day of May, the sight of the source of the latest childhood memory was like a beacon. The red, white and blue truck-I was later told the same truck that's been in use for the business for more than a half century-was parked just outside the fence at the East Side Rec on Lake Avenue.
The words painted over the top of the back doors said it all-Grasso's Italian Ices. Suddenly it was like being a kid again.
Pulled off Lake onto a side street, executed the perfect 3-point turn, and a few minutes later I pulled right behind what was about to become a welcome cool treat on a hot day.
Grasso's is a Saratoga institution, something that every kid growing up either on the West Side or East Side craved once the little white truck started making its rounds through the city's neighborhoods.
I used to see the truck all the time, since the owners lived pretty close to where I grew up. Seeing was one thing. Tasting is another.
Back in the late 1970s and '80s-long before the age of social media posts that alert fans of these refreshing delights of the truck's whereabouts-you snapped up the chance to get a Grasso's Italian Ice as soon as you spotted the truck. After all, you never knew exactly when you might see the truck again.
Back then the man inside with the scoop in hand was an older gentleman. He was friendly, outgoing, patient-good qualities for sure when dealing with children (and adults!). Friday the man inside was Ralph Grasso, the grandson of the businesses founder and the son of the man mentioned above.
Same traits as those mentioned above. We shared a good chat, me about enjoying their product so many times as a child and probably not for at least a dozen years, fiancé Elizabeth about her eager anticipation for her first taste.
The Italian ice didn't disappoint. It never does.
And the good news-besides the fact that there are four flavors to choose for a cost that won't break the bank-is that Grasso's will be available for the first time ever on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course. One Saratoga institution inside the Saratoga institution.
No word if the little white truck will be inside the gates. But if it is, make sure you don't pass it up. You never know when you might see it again.