It’s not a stretch to imagine the scene:
My family and I sit down to dinner in our dining room (yes, the dining room—it’s there, so we’re going to use it). The weather is gorgeous, finally, and the windows are open wide. We’re eating and chatting (and bickering, but try to ignore that part) as neighbors saunter by, and cardinals sing outside the window. When. . .
DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW, DO THEY WOBBLE TO AND FRO?
It's the ice cream man.
Now imagine a Friday evening: My husband is home from work, tackling some light yard work and feeling guilty he hasn’t had a chance to do more. But the kids want to play at the park, so we walk down the block. Soon half the neighborhood has joined us; kids play and parents laugh. It’s another idyllic night in Downers Grove until. . .
HELLO? TURKEY IN THE STRAW, TURKEY IN THE HAY!
I rarely was allowed to partake in ice cream truck offerings as a kid. Likewise, my kids already know the answer when they hear that blaring electronic muzak, and that answer is “no.” It’s “no” because the “ice cream” is overpriced junk, and I’m nothing if not an ice cream snob. I also refuse to submit to a treat before dinner or a second dessert just because a shady-looking van drives by.
I admit I feel a little mean—I remember the thrill of hearing the truck coming, running inside just in case my mom changed her mind, then running down the block to catch up with a handful of quarters. Granted, on my cul-du-sac in the 1980s, a visit from the ice cream man was a special occurrence. Now his drive-by is a daily ritual whenever temps are above 45°, and it’s grown tiresome.
The ice cream man has intruded upon playtime in our yard, preschool picnics, my son’s baseball games, even a family wedding (although it wasn’t local). We hear him winding through our neighborhood well before the truck passes our house, and long after, too.
Those minutes would be more tolerable if I thought they were anything more than an attempt to make a few bucks off of kids eager for a high fructose corn syrup fix. Or maybe if the van was a real ice cream truck with a bell, just for old times’ sake.
But the way it is? The magic is gone. I think it’s time for the ice cream man to disappear, too.