It’s officially summer when you hear the dulcet tones of the ice cream truck.
The epic chase of the ice cream man is one of the most nostalgic of American childhood experiences. For decades, neighborhoods have been the savanna of this ultimate summer safari, and I sincerely hope that ice cream trucks do not become an endangered species any time soon.
A few weeks ago, I indulged my inner child by embarking on the first ice cream quest of the summer with my younger sister:
Shrieking at hearing the first strains of “The Entertainer,” we grab our bicycles and begin to pedal madly toward the sound. We catch a glimpse of white at the very end of the road. He’s driving away, absolutely oblivious of our pursuit. We pedal harder, and forge a plan to cut him off at the pass. We are hunters of the great white truck. Pedaling harder, our breath is coming in sharp gasps. Harder. Our legs burn; our eyes tear up from the wind. We spot the truck coming toward us; we have the target in our crosshairs! I make a final push, waving wildly at the ice cream man. He waves back! We’ve got him!
Wait…he’s…he’s not…he’s driving away! My sister makes an abrupt U-turn, her rubber wheels screeching in the road’s gravel. She speeds to intercept the ice cream truck, whooping and hollering. He finally slows, putting out his blinking red stop sign. I pull alongside my sister, completely out of breath. The ice cream man looks at us quizzically. “You guys want ice cream or something?” he asks, a vacant expression on his face. This guy has spent way too much time driving an ice cream truck, with his bloodshot eyes peering out from behind the counter. We grin and giggle sheepishly, and place our orders. Ice cream bars in hand, we ride off into the sunset with our trophies, laughing hysterically.
The simple moments make life so sweet.