The large, decades-old van lumbered to a stop in front of our driveway, its engine idling loudly … making it impossible not to hear it even from inside the house. I peered out at the time-worn vehicle from the small slit I’d created in the blinds on our front porch and watched as the man in the driver’s seat slowly turned the key backwards, bringing the noisy van to a lifeless state for a moment. The lettering on the side of the van was faded and peeling slightly; it was all matte gray and pink now but I’d imagined that it had probably been a shining blue and bright red during its hey day. “Good Humor,“ it read. I stood there trying to decide if the faded, worn-out look of the van was more charming – in a vintage, peddler’s mall kind of way – or creepy, in the “always make sure to steer clear of big commercial vans, Lauren,” kind of way. I settled on the former.
“Who’s that, Mommy?” Elle asked.
“It’s the ice cream truck,” I replied, and then repeated myself to better emphasize that this was supposed to be a happy, positive thing. “It’s the ice cream truck!!!”
“Wowwww. Amazing! What does it do?” She stared in wide-eyed wonder at the ice cream truck that time had all but forgotten and at that moment, the music started playing and we made our way outside. A wonky, slightly distorted version of “Yankee Doodle” was playing and then it stopped suddenly, flatlining for a few quiet moments. We heard one loud, swift thump come from the inside of the van and then the music started up again. Louder this time; more sure of itself. Elle looked puzzled and delighted and happily anxious and rightfully so. A child’s first encounter with the neighborhood ice cream truck is a magical, memorable thing, even if the truck and its musical offerings aren’t in the most pristine of conditions. Bless its heart. Continue reading →