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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ice Cream, Noah and My Fear of Water

By Carl Hansen

A few months ago, the film starring Russell Crowe as the Biblical figure, Noah, was released. I had absolutely no desire to see the movie as I saw “promos” for it on television, for they bought back memories of how that Biblical story scared the bejesus out of me when I first heard it in Sunday School.

A world-wide flood destroying all human and animal life except for the fortunate few who made it on board the ark was horrible to contemplate and comprehend. And even though my Sunday School teacher tried to assure us that the rainbow at the end of the story was a sign that God would never repeat such an event, deep down inside I was not totally convinced of that.

As a child I had a horrible fear of water. I did not learn how to swim until much later in life, thanks to the patience of the young woman I would eventually marry. And although I gradually overcame the terror that swept over me when I thought about being in deep water, on occasion the fear remains even today on rare occasions.

I suspect it was my fear of water that fueled the fears I had related to the story of Noah and the ark. Most of the year the fear of another world-wide flood stayed in the back of my mind. But since I lived in Denver along the front range of the Rockies, most summer afternoons meant confronting the reality of thunderstorms, some of which brought heavy rain.

So each time the clouds began to form over the mountains and begin movement toward the city, up came the mental image of that immense flood recorded in Genesis.

Would this one be the “big one?” Would this be the time the promise of the rainbow would not hold, with rain going on and on and on as it did in the days of Noah?


When those afternoon rains began to fall, my coping mechanism was quite simple. Since we did not have an ark parked in our garage, I simply retreated to my bedroom at the back of the house. Once there, I shut the door, drew the shades and covered my ears with a pillow in order to wait until I was convinced the rains had stopped and I could venture out.

So it was one Saturday afternoon when I began to hear the sound of approaching thunder. I quietly and quickly headed for my bed and the comfort of my sound-deadening pillow. But this time I not only missed hearing the rain and thunder, I missed hearing an invitation being issued by the father to go Dolly Madison for ice cream — a rare treat with my dad who loved ice cream as much as I did.

Shortly before the rains started that afternoon, Dad began looking for me in the neighborhood, assuming I was out and about with the other kids who lived nearby. Apparently he was not aware of my “coping mechanism” for approaching afternoon storms and never thought to look around the house for me.

Instead, several of my friends were beneficiaries of his decision to go for ice cream that day — something I learned only after I finally decided to emerge from my place of refuge.

Miracle of miracles, in that instant my fears that the Noah story might be repeated melted away, never to return.

But in all honesty, some residual of that childhood fear must still be haunting me for although afternoon rains no longer lead me to find my bed and a pillow, I had absolutely no desire to see a movie reenactment of the flood when it came to Denver theaters a few months ago.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


It's 10AM and this story made me so hungry for ice cream that I had to suppress the urge to have a cone for "second breakfast." How well I remember those summer evenings when my parents and I went out for ice cream!


I always like to read your Denver stories since I, too, am from there.
My big phobia comes from the paper on top of doctors' examining tables; I can't deal with the sound of rattling paper. I was a sickly kid but right next door to my grandmother's was a little store selling ice cream and penny candy.
And I usually got a treat afterward!

When I was young, in the '30's, we always made our own ice cream in the basement with with a hand cranked machine. I was so envious of my friends going to the corner drug store for ice cream. Once my mother let me go with them. I was never so disappointed in my life, It wasn't smooth and creamy like our home made was. After that I was very content to eat mine at home.

Carl, Whatever the reason, you didn't miss much by not seeing the movie "Noah." There was such a focus on special effects--one after another after another. I thought it was tedious.

Excellent story!

I am almost two days late with my comment, but I surely enjoyed this story....almost as much as your disappointing Christmas....which I just read! Your writing is truly enjoyable reading!

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