Toasted Almond? Strawberry Shortcake? Chocolate Eclair?

Did you ever chase after an ice cream truck? This is one summer time activity my kids have no experience in because my neighborhood does not allow ice cream trucks.

Doesn’t that suck?

In short, the transplanted goombahs from NY & NJ (hey, I’m technically one of them) that serve as our Board of Directors, think  the presence of ice cream trucks in the neighborhood will mean certain doom and destruction to our community’s youth. Translate that into: they are afraid someone will get hit by a car.

I see their point a little teeny tiny bit. There is the possibility that some lazy ass mom will send her 7 year old with a $5 bill to run after the truck to fetch her a nutty buddy. This mom will not supervise to see if little Freddy looks both ways – she is too busy watching “The Kardashians” in her pajamas.

I think it’s such a shame that my kids are missing out on a sacred thrill of summer. There was something so very wonderful when on a boring Sunday afternoon you heard the faint jingle of the bells, or in my later years, the repetitive tune from the truck still far enough away that you had time to beg for change.

I can recall running into the house and pleading with my mom for some money screaming “ice cream man! Ice cream man!” and dancing in an impatient circle while she rummaged around in her purse for some loose change. If mom was nowhere in sight, I could resort to digging around in the pool bag. This was our carry all tote that we took to our town pool which constantly smelled of Coppertone and usually had no less than $85.00 worth of loose change in the bottom.

Once you procured the necessary funds, you ran back outside to try and pinpoint the location of the ice cream truck. You ran to the street, and in a stance similar to that of a Cocker Spaniel, would cock your ears left and right until you once again heard the jingle of the bells. Was he closer? Farther Away? Sometimes this took some minutes, but once the sound was pinpointed you frantically scanned up and down the street waiting for that white beauty to turn the corner and come rambling down your block.

Other times once back outside you never heard the bells at all, and you skulked dejectedly back into the house and sullenly handed your mom her money back.

Mr. Softee was the other ice cream alternative back in my day.

During my youth there were 2 varieties of ice cream man. First, we had the Good Humor man. He came in a white truck with several little doors on the back and sides. You never knew which door he would have to reach into to get your ice cream. It was sort of fun. Later on, the Good Humor man went away and the trucks evolved into vans with a giant window on the side which was plastered with stickers advertising the zillions of ice cream varieties you could buy. The dude driving the truck was most likely an unshaven stoner trying to make easy summer money.

Once the ice cream man pulled over for you, you felt the need to make a decision quickly…a crowd would usually form as news that the truck had stopped in the neighborhood. Nobody was  interested in waiting for me to decided whether I wanted a strawberry shortcake or a fudgesicle. What ever choice I eventually made, it was like a little summer nugget of gold. That ice cream was a coveted treat that can’t quite be equaled.

My kids have had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon twice, and both times it was a freaking blast for them. The ice cream could’ve cost $15 each and I would have gladly paid it. The last time was this past summer while visiting a family member up in Poughkeepsie, NY. That ice cream dude cleaned up during that stop. We were having a family reunion and we bought around 15 ice creams. I think the total was around $45 bucks. But it was worth it to see everyone sitting around on lawn chairs slurping ice cream and reminiscing about when we used to chase the trucks when we were kids.

It was great. And my kids never get to do it. Good thing summer’s over. Now I don’t have to bum out about this until next year.

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