Rum Raison Ice Cream

by Mike Hemming

On my first Caribbean cruise, the Requin stopped in Jamaica and with no navel presence there we got food from the local economy. One of the foodstuffs brought aboard was two 5-gallon containers of rum raisin ice cream. The 1st class cook took one look at it and said,

"That crap is terrible... I oughta heave it into the Dumpster."

Taken at his word, it was stowed in the back of the freeze box and forgotten. Some time later, I went in search of something to eat in the freeze box and found the ice cream. I scooped up a big bowl because I wanted something cold, not because I was hungry. Sitting in the mess hall, I ate it while doing a qual drawing. Some time later after finishing the bowl, I noticed that the world felt pleasantly different.

Pleasantly high, I finally realized, the ice cream was made with real alcoholic rum. Dropping back down into the cool box, I got another bowl and made sure the container was hidden better. After finishing it, I finally went aft to my bunk for sleep... Smiling a good deal more than a non-qual fireman should in the tropic seas.

The next night, realizing I needed help in concealing my find from indiscriminate consumption I said to the night mess cook,

"This ice cream has REAL rum in it! Lets keep it to ourselves."

He agreed to work on keeping it hidden, knowing that if the word leaked out, it would disappear in minutes.

We evolved a pattern... I would arrive in the 0200 to 0300 time slot when few were around usually, and we would have a large bowl of ice cream. Then I would go to bed with a pleasant buzz in my ears and he would stand the rest of his duty in the same condition.

Just about the time the first five-gallon container was emptying, I went to the mess hall to find a late night movie going on. Walking through, I see a shipmate eating a bowl of ice cream. I know that there is only one kind left... The good kind. Going back between reels I grab this guy and tell him what's what. From seeing his half-silly grin, it's pretty gahdam clear he knows anyway. But under threats of having to drink the forward engine room bilge and common sense, he realizes it's smart to keep his mouth shut.

The next night, the three of us arrive in the mess hall for our nightly ice cream tipple, to find 2 others eating a bowl of it and talking louder and louder and louder. Until one exclaims,

"HEY!! This stuff has real booze in it! I'm half drunk!"

With real tears, we watched the 'Real Rum Ice Cream' disappear before our very eyes .