Your Kiss Is on My List

My love affair with Casey's began two summers ago. I'd just changed jobs, and my new bicycle route took me past their location daily. It occurred to me that my husband Walt, who works hard outdoors, could use a treat on those hot afternoons. So I started bringing one home to share -- always lime -- wobbling crazily the last few blocks as I steered with one hand and clutched a fast-melting snowball in the other.

This year, I thought: Why not work our way through the whole menu?

"What can I get you today?" inquires the young woman in the window.

"Tamarind," I say, consulting my checklist.

"Have you ever tried Tamarind before?" she asks kindly. "Perhaps you'd like a sample?"

Gingerly, I taste it. She's right; Tamarind is not for me. I settle instead on a refreshing Golden Mango.

Later: I'm back, with Walt. Tonight we'll explore four berry flavors. We choose kid's-sized Strawberry (red), Blackberry (dark red), Blueberry (blue), and Raspberry (blue). Four, we've learned, is the maximum we can do justice to at one sitting. We relax on the steps, slurping happily, comparing reactions (I adore Strawberry; he favors Blueberry), and basking in the slice-of-life ambience. Long lines form and dissolve as people appear, order snowballs, depart.

My mind, so contented now, fast-forwards to the dreaded last day -- the day our little tray will hold only Fireball, Root Beer, Sour Apple, and Blue Bubble Gum. But that's in the distant future. Meanwhile, it's a beautiful evening. All's right with the world. And we haven't even started on the combos yet.

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  • A Snowball's Chance

    Casey's New Orleans Snowballs, the little family business that could at 51st and Airport, packs a year's worth of fun and flavor into six months, writes the Chronicle's Rae Nadler-Olenick.

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