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video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 11/5/16 show “New Beginning, Firsts and the Future” at Expressions 2016! New Beginnings: the Future of Poetry in Austin reading her poems “a New Life”, “Under the Sea”, “Saving Fingers and Scooping Ice Cream”, “New Beginnings: getting married to my knight in shining armor”, “My First Time”, “Falling From the Sky”, “Questioning Creativity through the Cosmos”, and her song “In Love I Abide” to live guitar and keyboard (this video filmed from a Sony camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 11/5/16 show “New Beginning, Firsts and the Future” at Expressions 2016! New Beginnings: the Future of Poetry in Austin reading her poems “a New Life”, “Under the Sea”, “Saving Fingers and Scooping Ice Cream”, “New Beginnings: getting married to my knight in shining armor”, “My First Time”, “Falling From the Sky”, “Questioning Creativity through the Cosmos”, and her song “In Love I Abide” to live guitar and keyboard (filmed from a Canon Power Shot camera).
New Beginning, Firsts and the Future chapbook View or download the free PDF chapbook
New Beginning, Firsts and the Future
with “a New Life” “Under the Sea”, “Saving Fingers and Scooping Ice Cream”, “New Beginnings: getting married to my knight in shining armor”, “My First Time”, “Falling From the Sky”, “Questioning Creativity through the Cosmos”, & “In Love I Abide”.
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See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 1/21/17 reading her poems “The Truth Is Out There”, “Evolving, Connecting and Confounding”, and “Saving Fingers and Scooping Ice Cream” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (from a Canon Power Shot camera).
video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 1/21/17 reading her poems “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, “This Isn’t Fair”, and “Saving Fingers and Scooping Ice Cream” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (this video was filmed from a Sony camera).

Saving Fingers
and Scooping Ice Cream

Janet Kuypers
1995 poem “Let’s Go” & May 2015 poem “Empty Chocolate Counter
edited for 11/5/16 show 10/24/16

One summer day in August, I was
sixteen at the time, sister Sandy and I
were in the house, it was an
average Thursday, mom was out
golfing, dad was at brother Bob’s form
yard, doing something man-like,
cutting wood or something.
I was getting ready for a summer
job interview that morning.
The phone rings, I answer it,
suddenly there’s this strange voice
on the other line talking, asking,
“Is your mother there?”
and my first instinct was that it
was dad’s friend Greg on the other line,
he always liked to put on
a fake voice and try to fool the
kids. So I put on my most cordial
voice and said, “No she’s not, may
I take a message?”
and then the voice starts going on
about how he’s cut his finger and
he has to go to the hospital, and
then it finally occurs to me that
it’s my father, and he was in
so much pain that he could barely
speak. So he hangs up the phone
and Sandy and I try to call the
golf course, hoping to catch mom,
but she already left, and while
we waited for her to come home
dad came home to get us and
bring us to the hospital with him.
His hand was wrapped in a shirt,
half-soaked in blood. Sandy got
in the wagon, but she told me
to wait at home for mom. So dad
whipped the car out of the drive-
way and down the road, And I stood
in the driveway, suddenly alone,
watching him drive away.
I was so distraught, I started to
cry, but I had to keep myself
together, because I didn’t want
to make it sound serious when I
told mom and make her more nervous.
I didn’t want her to cry, he cut
his finger, he’d need stitches,
but he wasn’t going to die.
So I waited at the front window,
and when I saw her car drive down
the road I went to the garage.
When she pulled in I hopped in
the passenger side before she
turned off the engine. “Come on,
let’s go,” I said, with a smile on
my face.
I tried to preface the story with
“Let me just say, that everything
is fine,” but you just know when
bad news is coming up. But I tried
to make it sound funny, like dad
the klutz cut his hand.
I hope I did a good job. For eleven
blocks I was the one that had to
make sure that everything was
okay, being reasonable when dad
actually lost the tips of two fingers....
And it was an interesting excuse
to explain why I was late for
my first job interview.

And I got the job
at this iconic ice cream parlour -
now, only boys were allowed
to scoop ice cream there,
so my job was to work for their
brand-new candy counter.

And one day at work with the boss,
when deliveries were dropped off,
I picked up a larger box
and the owner then stopped me.
“Wait, that’s heavy —
you shouldn’t carry that.”
And I laughed, explaining that I carry
fifty pound salt blocks for our water softener,
that I’m fine.

I think maybe him seeing
that women can stand up for themselves
made it okay, in the heat of summer
when the lines are out the door for ice cream,
for me to leave the empty chocolate counter
and be the first female there
to ever scoop ice cream with the big boys.

Looking back, you may say
I’m a feminist pioneer
by being the first female
to scoop ice cream there,
but when I look back
I don’t see it that way.

I just remember home-made
chocolate ice cream
with chocolate chips,
molasses bits and added fudge,
and that, my friends,
was whipped
into the perfect shake —
no matter which gender
did the job.


Copyright © Janet Kuypers.

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may be reprinted without express permission.



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