For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked forward to summer, because summer meant snow cones from “the snow cone man” in Pontotoc.
He makes, hands down, the best snow cones I’ve ever tasted.
They are so good I’ve never been able to pick a favorite flavor.
As a kid, I loved rainbow because it was so pretty. Then I loved wedding cake, then strawberry cheesecake, and then kiwi. Now I’m sweet on the basics like watermelon. Even so, I still usually can’t decide until I’m right at the window.
Getting a snow cone was no easy feat.
The snow cone man seemed to keep a long line, always, no matter the time of day.
You’d have to stand in line in the sweltering summer heat for anywhere from a minute or two to 20 minutes or longer – and I’ve heard about those who’ve waited up to an hour.
Often you’d see the line stretch all the way out to Highway 15. Sometimes I’d drive around the block and hope the line would shorten, but sometimes it would just grow longer.
But boy, the wait was worth it.
The snow cone man’s ice was the finest ice, and he’d layer ice with layers of syrup. No matter how long you waited, no matter how much you’d sweat, it was all worth it for a sweet, cooling bite.
He had a sign up at the shop, which sat beside Hardee’s on Highway 15, that said snow cones were “air conditioning for the innards.”
That’s the best way to put it: It cooled you off, and it was always so wonderfully sweet.
The snow cone man and his wife watched me grow up, and once I became an adult and got over most of my shy phase, they’d always offer a kind word and quick chat while he made the treats.
He learned I’d usually choose a different flavor every time, but my mama’s order was always the same: banana, “with not much juice.”
I suggested a couple of years ago that a fellow Daily Journal reporter, Ginna Parsons, write about the snow cone man, and she did.
It was only then that I learned his actual name, Bob Warren, and that he’d opened up the shop in 1988.
I also learned he made those delicious syrups at home.
I haven’t had a chance to get by there this summer, and I am kicking myself.
He closed up shop yesterday, due to health reasons.
As my mama said, this means there will be a lot of sad kids.
But I corrected her: There will be plenty of sad kids and adults. I know I’m one of many.
Thanks for all of the snow cones and memories, snow cone man.
We’ll miss you.
Sheena Barnett is an entertainment writer for the Daily Journal. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.