20 May 2009

An Important Time In Every Child's Life

Today, as the kids and I were outside trying to determine if our garden is sprouting anything other than weeds, I heard the familiar chimes of the ice cream man. And, like any kid-at-heart would do, I went running.

Growing up in Cleveland, we heard a lot of the ice cream man. In Old Brooklyn, the section of Cleveland where I grew up, the streets are narrow and grid-like, packed full of tiny post-war era houses, and sounds carry with ease. Ice cream truck music ("Do your ears hang low/Do they wobble to and fro/Can you tie them in a knot/Can you tie them in a bow...") was largely the soundtrack to my childhood. I grew up on a main street, though, where ice cream trucks won't stop for you no matter how desperate you look. So if we wanted to partake, we had to grab money (often kept strategically near the door) and sprint around the block to the side streets. But, oh, the orange push-ups that awaited at the end of the jog, with their cool polka dot tubes and plastic sticks. And oh, the bomb pops. And the sno-cones. And the memories.

Fast forward to my college years, when my dear friend Stephanie moved to Chicago for a summer to drive an ice cream truck. I went to visit her on the weekend of my 21st birthday and spent a day riding around with her. I was in heaven, except for the incessant plinking of the ice cream tunes, whose repetitive melodies lodged themselves in my head for weeks. I reorganized the freezer. I listened to the order and tried to gather the goodies as quickly as I could. I marveled at the newfangled novelties: Choco Tacos. Lemon Sharks. Chipwiches. Stephanie knew all the best places to go; namely, places populated densely with people, places like apartment complexes and baseball fields. Side streets aren't super profitable--to much area to cover, not enough patrons. Sidelines at soccer games, on the other hand, with their throngs of indulgent parents and hungry kids, are perfect. I loved riding in that truck with her--I felt like I was looking behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz, and it wasn't just some short guy in a costume. It was an actual Wizard.

These days, we live on 2.5 acres, on a road that is not a part of a neighborhood. I never even considered it a possibility that the ice cream man might venture our way. We've lived here almost 6 years, and I don't think I've ever heard an ice cream truck before. So today, when I heard the gentle strains of the music, I grabbed money and ran for the street, yelling for my kids to COME HERE! FAST!! HURRY!!! Who knows when this opportunity might present itself again? And I have such fond memories of the ice cream truck, I wanted to give my kids those memories, too.

While we had a long talk about how it is inappropriate to run towards the street unless mom is telling you to do it, we tucked into our frozen treats. We each selected sno-cones. They were $2.50 EACH. I then explained to the kids this was a once-in-a-great-while treat, on account of the second mortgage we'd have to get to pay for our FROZEN WATER. On a side note, the man driving the truck had to use a calculator to total our tab ($2.50 x 3) AND ALSO to make change from the $10 I gave him. I'm no math whiz myself, but that's pretty bad.

Anyway. I didn't have the forethought to grab my camera along with the cash in my dash for the street, but I did capture these photos shortly thereafter. Duly documented.

Mmmmm. Memories like this taste good.

1 comment:

Marcy Wickiser said...

Cori, you're such a good writer. Will you write my blog for me??? I hadn't read your blog for awhile, but have thoroughly enjoyed reading several entries tonight. You've inspired me to try to be at least a little creative with my blog--thanks! See you soon!!!!!