Twenty years ago, I worked a summer job in Hancock, NY. One weekend some friends made the drive down from Albany to visit. They raved about an amazing ice cream stand they had discovered en route, one with a magic machine that could make a custom-flavored cone from any ingredient you tossed into it. For years afterward, whenever my wife and I found ourselves in the Binghamton area, we’d make a detour down Rte 8 to visit The Penguin.
I hadn’t been back in twelve years. So imagine my surprise when my GPS just happened to route me past the best ice cream stand on the planet. I didn’t even recognize it at first, and I nearly drove my car off the road when I finally did.
I’m happy to report that The Penguin (now called “The Country Cream”) is still going strong out there on Route 8 near Masonville. The incredible machine is called a “Chus-A-Treat” (click the picture) and it works like this: First, the owners cut up a lot of hard ice cream into slabs. Then, one of these slabs goes into the top of the machine, a few spoonfuls of ingredients go into a chute in the front, a lever is pulled, and out comes a cone’s worth of pure ice cream gold. I had a chocolate with scoops of real peanut butter and slices of banana, then a vanilla with Grape Nuts and fresh pineapple for desert. There are only four known Chus-A-Treat machines still in existence in the world. Believe me, it’s worth a trip.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, my visit to Deposit Elementary. What a great school. You’d be amazed at the things I found there, like a display case full of pirate ships…
Pigs, pigs galore…
And at the end of one hallway, an wall-sized house of bugs called “McElligott Manor”.
But most surprising was a thick binder I was handed near the end of the day. It contained job applications from every one of the fifth graders applying to work on Backbeard’s crew. Each student had a page with their photo (in costume, of course) and another with a complete resume, done in the style of the one on the back of Backbeard: Pirate for Hire. (Eg. Special Skills: Cleaning gator teeth, Cooking cold cereal, Trimming toenails with a cutlass…)
I’d hire each and every one of them. Thanks, Mrs. Hochuli, and thanks to everyone at Deposit for making my last visit of the school year such a special one!