Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Ice Cream Boy

I know that I come from an unusually musical background, but I'm always amazed by the way in which music is tied to so many of the details of our lives. 

Take Pachelbel's "Canon in D", for example.  Today that song is so closely associated with weddings that it brings little else to mind.  Listen to a few bars of Aaron Copland's "Hoe Down" from "Rodeo" and what comes to mind? 

Probably beef.

So what do you think of when you hear "The Entertainer"?  If you took piano lessons as a kid, that song may elicit feelings of torture.  But if you didn't, or if the piano was just your thing, "The Entertainer" may just remind you of summer and the anticipated arrival of the ice cream man.


So when I heard the chimes off in the distance and my mouth began salivating like Pavlov's dogs, I quickly jumped up and grabbed Cael.  I knew that he had never experienced the wonder that is the ice cream truck because, despite the fact that I had seen it prowling the neighborhood twice before, it always came through around 2pm and in the middle of the boys' naps.

This time, however, Cael was fully awake and hadn't yet had a snack, so I decided to introduce him to his newest addiction.

"Cael, the ice cream man is here!"

"Who is the ice cream man?"

"A guy that drives a truck around with ice cream in it.  Would you like some ice cream?"


We walked to the door and I could see Cael's gears turning as red flags went up in his head.


Don't talk to strangers.  Don't eat candy from people you don't know.  Don't approach other vehicles.  Don't play in the street.

And, to my surprise, the flags won.  He was so stunned by the earth-shattering news that ice cream could be delivered to one's home in a refrigerated van that he couldn't make his feet work and I had to practically drag him to the street.  Once there, I pointed to the menu of frozen treats and offered for him to take his pick.

And ironically enough, he froze.


Eventually I picked out the classic Fudgesicle for him, not only because it was the cheapest and I knew he would like it, but because it wouldn't stain and the kid eats like a wild hog.

Once he got inside and on his own turf, Cael bounced around with joy and rushed to the table to enjoy his spoils.  And for the next ten wet, messy minutes, he was in heaven. 


"Mommy, how can an ice cream man be a lady?  (I had incorrectly assumed that the driver would be a man because the truck I'd seen lazily meandering the streets had been driven by a man.)

"This was an ice cream lady.  The truck could be driven by a man or a woman."

"And how can an ice cream truck be a van?"

"You're right, it wasn't a truck.  That's just what they called it when I was a kid and the name stuck."

"Can our van be an ice cream van?"

"That would be neat, but I don't think we're gonna do that."


"Can I get another treat?"

"No, I think one is enough.."

"When can I get another treat?"

"Maybe the next time the truck-- the van comes."

"And maybe I could be an ice cream lady?"

"Sure, dude."


As the truck van drove up the street, I found myself hoping it wouldn't return too soon.  Because even though Cael later confessed to me that he thought "The Entertainer" was "kind of annoying", I know that he'll never forget that melody, just as I haven't.


  1. I love when my kid's eyes light up when they hear the music of the ice cream truck! Unfortunately, our ice cream truck plays really loud music box type Christmas music. Why???

    PS: The Entertainer brings back many memories of hours of piano recital practicing! I'm sure my Mom wants to run screaming whenever she hears that song!!!

    1. That's funny about your truck... why mess with such an irritating classic? :)


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.