No matter what we were doing, when my friends and I heard “It’s a Small World” in the distance, we scattered as if we were ants sprayed with poison. We raced to our houses, raiding our piggy banks or begging our parents for spare change. As the melody grew louder, we knew time was of the essence.
For years, our ice cream truck was driven by a patient older gentleman who cruised the neighborhood at a snail’s pace. He made a point of learning everyone’s name and your ice cream of choice. If you were short a couple of pennies, he kept a jar of spare change to make up the difference.
One day our world changed. The soft melody of “It’s a Small World” went silent. In its place, the screeching sounds of an electric guitar. Gone was the sweet elderly man. The new driver was young. He had long wild hair and wore a tie-dyed tee shirt. This was no ordinary ice cream man. He raced through the neighborhood. If you weren’t at the corner when he stopped, he sped to the next.
I’ll never forget the day he played a game of cat and mouse with my neighbor, Timmy. We knew if we wanted ice cream, we had to be at the corner. On this day, Timmy had trouble scrounging up his change and he didn’t make it in time.
As the truck raced away from the corner, Timmy chased after it. To our surprise, the long hair slammed on his breaks, something he had never done. When Timmy was within arm’s reach of the truck, long hair floored it and then stopped again. This continued through the entire neighborhood. Poor Timmy was exhausted by the time the truck left our neighborhood.
Timmy didn’t get his ice cream that day and he didn’t join us at the corner the next few days. A week later the sound of the electric guitar faded. “Camptown Races” echoed through the neighborhood and a new driver was behind the wheel. Things were back to normal and we were able to enjoy the carefree days of summer.
What was your favorite ice cream treat?