An extra-special Drive-In Tasty Freeze chocolate dipped cone indeed. And now it has a place of honor in the Tactile Gallery at the Fine Arts Center.

The story unfolded with fudge sauce and caramel at a special Sept. 17 FAC reception, where everyone was treated to ice cream sundaes.

As with a number of local arts projects, it started with Mary Mashburn, a local legend in the arts community who sprinkles fairy godmother goodwill and happiness. She had teamed with Peggy Marshall in October 1981 to create a Fine Arts Center tactile art gallery designed for the blind and visually impaired and those with disabilities.

The fairy godmother always dreamed of an original, whimsical piece by artist and toy creator Sean O’Meallie, think the Poly Poly parrots downtown, as part of the Mashburn/Marshall Tactile Gallery where everyone is invited to touch the art.

Then beloved Sarah Albright Healy, who with husband Michael supports the arts center and organized the Woman’s Educational Society Van Briggle Festival at Colorado College, was stricken with a fiercely aggressive cancer, multiple myeloma.

During treatment and hospice when she lost all appetite, Sarah and Michael would travel to the Drive In at 2309 N. Weber St. nearby for her sweet treat, a chocolate-dipped soft-serve cone.

During hospice care, Sarah decided, too, that a blood cancer support group is needed, and she went about starting one. Husband Michael said the trips to Tasty Freeze and planning a support group “helped her hang on. She forgets she is sick.”

A perfect O’Meallie project was born, and Mary Mashburn said it made her “so very, very happy.” The unveiling was the perfect time for a history of the gallery when she could thank all the tactile gallery friends and supporters, the center’s docents and the Delta Gamma sorority members whose national mission is working with the blind.

There were loving words for husband Wayne Mashburn, her partner for 62 years and the calm man behind “my sprinkle sprinkle. Believe in the power of sprinkles.”

In typical Mary style, she apologized to the guests for being a tiny bit weak from “a little heart thing.” Not exactly. She was just out of the hospital following open-heart surgery.

After the 3D sandstone ice cream unveiling, with Sarah Healy’s sandstone hand wrapped around the cone, the women were surrounded by admirers and longtime friends. All a smiling Sarah could say: “Jeepers, this is something!”

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