Melting dreams, happiness: The summer without Blue Bell

Lucy Raleigh

In the heat of summer, the only thing that keeps Southerners alive is their beloved Brenham original: Blue Bell Ice Cream. There are days that are emblazoned in the minds of all Texans; one such moment is the tragic day that Blue Bell announced the devastating recall on all of their products: popsicles, ice cream bars, and most importantly, the ice cream itself. The recall was due to a listeria outbreak in multiple factories, causing them to shut down production, along with general Texan happiness and sanity.

After months of empty promises, Texans were fed up with waiting for their favorite; and by far the best; ice cream all summer long. Before the summer even started, they said Blue Bell would be back in freezers quickly, but that turned into six weeks, and six weeks turned into two months. I was beginning to wonder if my tongue would ever be graced by the heavenly, sweet, softness of Blue Bell again, but I had to face the harsh reality that there could be no Texas without Blue Bell. Texans from the Pineywoods to the Hill Country were mourning the loss of Blue Bell.

Granted, the HEB Creamy Creations brand was a decent substitute to get us through our hard times since HEB is also a Texas institution, but it was still nothing but a substitute. Our hearts and my tummy still longed for that familiar taste of Blue Bell.

Finally, at the end of summer, there was a great announcement and trumpets sounded from the heavens. An announcement so grand that it spread like wildfire and got the whole state excited for the homecoming of one of Texas’ staple products. Blue Bell was back. There were crowds of fans eagerly awaiting the first trucks leaving the Blue Bell distribution center, making their ways to stock the shelves of grocery stores in surrounding counties.

On Monday, August 31, 2015, ice cream connoisseurs wreaked havoc on the frozen treats aisle in every grocery store in town, and even the product purchase limit couldn’t stop customers. With the news of Blue Bell’s long awaited return, people were lined up at the doors to get their half gallons of Homemade Vanilla, The Great Divide, Dutch Chocolate, and Cookies and Cream- the starter pack for Blue Bell’s come back. Before lunch time, the designated shelves of the frozen treats aisle were like a frozen wasteland, empty like our freezers at home had been through the bleak summer of 2015. I was lucky enough to acquire the elusive ice cream though, and it seemed as if that first spoonful I ate made everything right with the world. And in that moment I forgave Blue Bell for all of the scoops that I missed the summer. But Texans will forever remember “The Summer without Blue Bell”, you know how they love their tall tales and legends.