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 →
I hit my head on the overhead luggage compartment as I took my seat on the plane. Wham! Audible gasps, groans, and “ooohhhs” arose from the rows all around me. The kind-eyed man seated next to me got up so as to let me and my bruised head slip past him into my assigned window seat: seat 17F, right on the wing. I smiled at him in thanks.
“Oh, I’m alright! Really it’s okay. I do that all the time.”
It was possibly one of the weirdest things I could have said. For starters, it wasn’t even true – just a complete bold-faced lie. I hadn’t even flown in over three years. Also, casually telling someone that I hit my head all the time makes me seem insane, and now this gentle giant of a man in 17E would most likely sit in wonderment over the peculiar woman to his right. I inadvertently glanced down at his phone, which he was now attempting to set on “airplane mode” per attendant Pam’s instructions. He succeeded, but not before I was able to make out the fact that he was listening to Taylor Swift. It wasn’t even her new album, this had to have been at least a couple albums ago, if my musical calculations are correct. So, on second thought, maybe it was I who was going to be doing the wondering …
Our plane began to creep higher in the sky and as I eased my chair back in an attempt to further relax and calm my now throbbing head, my mind wandered right on back home; to last Tuesday to be exact … Continue reading →