Friday, June 20, 2014

Ice Cream Truck

Yesterday the ice cream truck, its little songs a-tinkling, drove into my neighborhood.  I am 36 years old, but I was as excited as my kids were. My husband wasn't as excited when I told him we'd paid $4.50 for 2 popsicles, but I couldn’t help it.

I don't even really like ice cream; it was just the nostalgia of it all. I do have to admit, however, that I had a hard time blocking the image below from my head; the one that usually comes with the caption Don't worry.  This guy seems legit:

Let me clarify that this was NOT the ice cream truck that came through my neighborhood.  This is an image that’s been floating around the internet for years that, when paired with the caption above, I have always found hilarious—in that “I shouldn’t be laughing” kind of way.  When I posted it on my Facebook page, though, all of my friends went crazy: 

You let your kids near THAT truck? 

WTF are you doing letting your kids buy ice cream from a rapist’s van? 

No, our local ice cream truck was a sweet little thing that actually had windows and pictures of all of the delectable treats inside.  There was also real lettering instead of ominous messages spray-painted across the side.  Lastly, it was driven by an adorable little lady whose radiant smile masked her hardass business strategy of cheating kids out of their allowances by marking up ice cream bars by 150 percent.

In any case, my kids loved their popsicles and I took pure joy in having that moment with them on the deck as their dad stood off to the side, taking a break from mowing the lawn so that he could be sure that we saw him shake his head, lamenting the loss of his hard-earned $4.50.  It reminded me of a story that I wrote last summer.

I hardly ever re-post, but I’m guessing you haven’t read this one.  It was nestled in a much larger post called "Family Picture," written before I realized that many people prefer to read a shorter and sweeter blog post every now and then.  (Don't worry; I can still tap out a long-winded one when need be--but I swear that's not a threat.)  It’s a great story about my divorced-for-a-million-years mom and dad. 

You guys, I love that God gave me them as parents.  They are BLOG GOLD. Here’s the story:

The Ice Cream Truck
Since Dad makes us all gather to pay homage to his favorite child (whom we have been instructed to call The Golden Child) when he’s in town on leave from his military duties by requiring us to spend at least one weekend per leave assignment basking in his glow, I decided to take advantage last year and take both of my kids so that Dad could babysit while I drank some beer with The Golden Child.

That afternoon as Mom, Dad, a couple of my nephews, and my kids and I were waiting for The Golden Child to rise (he was not to be bothered before the hour of 2:00 PM--no shit), we heard the distinctive tinkle of the ice cream truck's songs.

I shit you not, my mom heaved herself from her sitting position on the floor and hauled ass outside, knocking over a few kids in the mix. I yanked my infant's carseat out of the way just in time, but my nephew was not so lucky. I don’t know when his cracked tooth will fall out or if he’ll ever walk without a limp again.  I do know that my older sister’s kinda pissed.

When Mom came back inside with her prize, my dad shot her an annoyed glance.

"Seriously, Wanda," he complained. "Who the hell ever heard of an ice cream that costs $4.00 from a truck?"

 "Is it a lobster cone?" I asked.

"No," Mom replied, licking the cone in a way that was almost embarrassing for everyone in the room to see. I covered my preschooler’s eyes. "This one's made of turtle."

Poor turtle. Glad it was dead or it would have lasting mental consequences from the abuse Mom was putting it through.

"You mean it's a turtle cone, with the caramel and stuff...Who bought it?" I asked.

Dad gave me his well-practiced withered look as he stuffed the change Mom had given him back into his wallet. "Who do you think?"

“At least I gave you the change this time,” Mom said without looking up from her cone.

"What, they didn't have any surf-and-turf cones, Mom? No butter sauce? Caviar sprinkles?  Diamond-encrusted salmon dips?" I asked. But she was too busy licking to answer.

"I hope she enjoys it now," Dad grumbled. "She keeps eating like this, my savings will be depleted. Hope she doesn't want a damned lobster cone when she's 85."

Yes, you do remember correctly.  They are divorced and have been for almost 23 years.  But they’ve known each other since they were neighbors at 11 and 14 years old and they still enjoy taking care of each other and, rumor has it, having sex every now and again.

I guess some things will never change. 


  1. That IS a weird memory, and quickly perusing my horror show of a childhood, that's saying something. My mother would have ordered us to get her a cone but she wouldn't have purchased one and eaten in front of the kids, she wouldve covered in the bathroom or something. We tell my kids the ice cream truck sells carrots. Sshhhh be cool.

  2. I think everyone has an ice cream truck story, must be some kind of rite of passage.
    My youngest was not terribly coordinated and had little tolerance for exerting himself. One day the ice cream truck came by, the boys came in and asked, I agreed and got some money. By this time the truck was almost out of sight. My little guy took off chasing that truck down for all he was worth (and then some). Once my little guy was out of sight (and wouldn't come back despite my desperate pleas) I had to run after him with thoughts of never seeing him again running through my mind. I caught up with my kid about a half a mile later and figured we'd all earned our ice cream that day.

  3. OMG I remember my mom telling us to stay away from white vans when I was a kid. It's a little sad that they no longer seem to be an urban legend threat. Maybe we need to bring it back. You know. For the safety of all. We bought a popsicle from the icecream truck recently but then Tucker didn't like it so I was forced to eat it. Huh. I want to come to your house for a bbq. I'll bring beer.

  4. We have at least six ice cream places within five minutes of our house - the kind where you get soft serve from the machine and put all kinds of toppings on them. Yet if my kids hear the ice cream truck, they go crazy and beg for some. Next time I'm sending them for your dad's wallet!