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The universal language of Zert

My three-year old son asked me for some zert after

“Zert! You want some zert? What kind of zert do you want?”

“Brown zert!”

“Hmmm. I have white zert with brown in it. Will that do?”


So I got out the jumbo bucket of vanilla-fudge-swirl ice cream. “Yay, zert!”

Zert comes in so many different flavors and colors. It’s hard not to love it, especially when you’re a kid. My grandmother used to take us to Thrifty’s long before it became Rite Aid and buy us each a scoop of ice cream. We tried mocha, praline, malted crunch, rainbow sherbet and strawberry. You name it we tried it. We’d even sampled each other’s zert.

Nothing bonds hearts, young and old, like zert.

My own kids have a special bond with their grandparents thanks to zert. Grandpa is known as the big dipper and he makes sure each child gets a scoop so big it makes their eyes pop out and their hearts swell with pride. That’s the power of zert.

When my parents dated, they fell in love over zert. They were a bit experimental and tried blueberry buckle one time and still laugh about how awful it was to this day, but that experience only drew them closer together. Zert is like that. No matter the flavor, when part of a memory it evokes a sentimental and romantic yearning.

Even my husband and I share a courtship where zert played a significant role. My husband, before he emigrated to this country, lived in Australia and would often surprise me with tickets in the mail for free pints of Ben & Jerry’s zert. And for our wedding celebration we shared a pint of chocolate fudge brownie for zert.

Now the youngest of he family has discovered the wonders of zert. He’s become quite the connoisseur. There is brown zert, white zert, pink zert and Superman zert. Zert comes in bowls, on cones and sometimes in little plastic cups. And sometimes, if you’re really good, there’s a musical zertmobile that travels the neighborhood and mom will give you a dollar to get your very own zert that you can eat outside, barefoot, while running in the wind.

But no matter what kind of zert he eats or how it’s served, somehow it always ends up covering him from head to toe.

“Woman, why do you keep giving him zert?” my husband says. “He’s a mess. Look at him.”

I do, but all I can see is joy in those eyes and the big grin dripping with ice cream. Isn’t that what zert is supposed to make you feel like?

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