BY FRANK KOOTSILLAS
Some of my happiest times growing up on Grosse Ile involved spring break during the 1950s. Nature was once again awakening from winter hibernation. A walk through the woods would bring this to a delightful affirmation. The woods and fields were more plentiful back then.
With the snow melted, nature’s scenery once again started with a blank slate. Green shoots sprouted forth against the brown grass and foliage. The sun was warm to the face and you were sure you had Winter on the run. If you looked closely, you could find a remaining patch of snow in the shade of a fallen tree. I would make one last snowball and throw it against a tree. I was mocking “Old Man Winter” and it felt so good!
Springtime came with its own seasonal sounds. If you happened upon a bog or quiet body of water, the croaking frogs in their original cacophony were almost deafening! They too were happily singing their praise of spring. They would even drown out the birds and their joyful songs.
If you needed further assurance that spring was here, you could visit one of the local yacht clubs where boats of all sizes were shedding their winter covers, while their owners scurried around sizing up needed repairs for the upcoming summer season. There was no labor-saving shrink wrap back then, just heavy back breaking tarps to tug and remove.
After touring nature’s gifts of springtime, we made sure our bike tires were pumped up and ready to go. Our final pilgrimage was a bike ride over to Trenton, “the mainland” (No passports required). We rode our bikes across the County Bridge (careful not to look down) and biked our way through Elizabeth Park.
Our final destination was over the viaduct on West Road to the Dairy Queen. This would be our first prelude of summer. We sat on an outside bench in 48 degree weather, savoring our long awaited taste of spring.
The Dairy Queen is still in operation at the same location after all these years. It is still serving ice cream to a whole new generation, creating memories that will last a lifetime.