I don't remember when I first met Ash, probably because I was about 5 years old. At that age, all I can recall are impressions. I was convinced that he was my "Norm" of Cheers. He welcomed me, he talked to me and he made me feel like I was the only customer he had.
Oh, did I mention that Ash, along with his buddy Vic, opened Vic's Ice Cream in the late 1940's? It is a small ice cream parlor that serves homemade ice cream and wonderful sandwiches. The total seating is about 6 booths and 15 stools at a counter. Vic passed away long ago and Ash, with his son joining him in the 1980's , has continued the legacy the buddies began.
The snippets of my memories of Ash are delightful life experiences. Ash decorated my ice cream wedding cake...then he joined the celebration...maybe just a little too much. By the time he realized that it needed cutting, it was leaning like the Tower of Pisa! Ash would join us at our booth just to get caught up or make us feel important. Ash was the Marshall of the First Annual Land Park Parade (of which there was a total of 2), waving his hands to the throngs of fans.
Ash was particularly fond of the kids...the littler the better. He would get down to their eye level and with his big smile, have a conversation. Maybe there was a part of Ash that was always a kid. He understood them. He had a policy that as long as your report card had all A's and B's, you got a free ice cream cone! For the most part, his employees are young high school students having their first experience with a job.
Ash created an atmosphere that encouraged chasing your dreams. Big Jim was the ice cream maker for Vic's for years. Jamie, his son, continued Jim's legacy and worked for Ash until he opened his own restaurant, "Jamies", that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Mike worked at Vic's and toured with his band until he went to culinary school and is now a chef at a local restaurant. Little Jim managed Vic's for years when Craig wasn't old enough. Jim then opened his own restaurant, "Burr's" in East Sacramento. Jim carries Vic's Ice Cream and make sandwiches...sound familiar?
We will miss Ash...but I bet he is serving God ice cream up in the clouds!