Catching Ice Cream Trucks on the Suncoast

The other day I did something I have not done in a good 40 years. No, it was not a cartwheel followed by a backbend, though in the day that was the preferred method to get from the TV to the frig. With reckless abandon I ran out the door, wildly waving my arms and yelling at the top of my lungs, “Ice cream! Ice Cream!” When those brake lights flashed, I jumped up and down without one iota of care for those peeking from behind their curtains, knowing I had caught the ice cream truck.

All at once I could completely relate with Eddie Murphy’s parody of his childhood while also fulfilling my own childhood love – – snagging that good old, frozen heaven-on-a-stick feeling that tastes better when it comes out of a mobile delivery unit called the ice cream truck.

In the stillness of the quarantine, when cars were parked, production was stopped, and the noise and chatter of the world subsided a bit, we could begin to hear things again. I had forgotten how nature “sounds” and how that opens the ability to think for a minute. I found myself pausing to reflect on beautiful little things that I had senselessly overlooked in my everyday world. It was in those moments that the jingling, merry sounds that only an ice cream truck can produce would jar me back into reality.

Growing up in a tiny town we didn’t have an ice cream truck, but from ages birth to five, we did. I guess in those few, short years the goodness of ice-cream showing up in your neighborhood on a hot, summer day really burned an imprint on my impressionable brain. Because when that jingle comes to my part of town these days, I move without thinking, yelling at my husband to “Bring some cash and follow me!”

Not all ice cream trucks are the same

Let’s be clear about something, all ice cream trucks are not created equal. We started hearing those familiar chimes showing up in our hood at about Day 30 of quarantine. Though I ran out then, it was if the guy driving the truck was there to just remind us that ice cream was inevitably in our future, “hang in there,” so to speak, because he never stopped.

A dramatic letdown was felt throughout our entire house led by me. This same ghost truck pulled through at about Day 45 and once again, turned the corner whilst I waved like a mad woman. Again, no ice cream, just a drive through.

But the other day, well, let me tell you, we were prepared. Cash in pocket, Converse on feet, we caught that ice cream truck! It was a feeling of accomplishment that only two months of distance learning with teens in a small house followed by several near misses with an ice-cream truck can produce.

Two Bomb Pops, one Choco Taco and a Drumstick later, we were in ice-cream headache heaven. The hubby even sprung for the kids down the road. “Be sure to stop,” I warned to the ice cream truck driver as we watched to make sure he did. The moral of the story: Never give up. And, also, never grow up.

Photos courtesy of I Love Ice-Cream Facebook page.

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2020-05-21