Ask any kid what the best sound of summer is and they’ll likely say, “The ice cream truck.” I still get excited whenever I hear the warped calliope of the ice-cream truck song one block away. A neighbor said it best: “It’s one of the few Norman Rockwell experiences we share with our kids.”
As sweet as that sounds, this story continues with little good humor.
Not long ago, the temperatures in Seattle hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s sweltering for our town. The neighborhood kids had ice cream on their minds. So when the truck finally appeared, the kids were waiting, sweating and salivating. The ice cream truck always stops mid-block in front of the same group of homes where the greatest concentration of young kids live. But as he rolled to a stop, all hell broke loose in front of one of those homes.
I’ve compiled three variations of what happened and how it went down. There are two here (third is coming after I talk to one more party). You can decide what to believe.
Story 1, as told by a concerned parent:
As the ice cream truck rolled up and the kids surrounded it, the home owners gardening nearest to the truck asked the driver to park “legally” instead of in the middle of the street near their strip. The driver replied this was the safest place for the truck. He was blocking traffic, ensuring the safety of kids who approached his truck to get ice cream.
That wasn’t good enough for the home owners, who, apparently, then addressed the inferiority of the ice cream he was peddling.
Why couldn’t he sell better ice cream? The ice cream he had was crap. Wasn’t he ripping off the kids by jacking up prices on an inferior product? If he sold better ice cream (several brands were discussed along with their merits), and parked legally, things would be better.
The disagreement escalated as the home owners and driver started pointing fingers at each other, raising their voices in anger. This is when the parents of the various children ran over, grabbed their shocked kids and hustled them back to their homes. The last thing these kids heard was that the ice cream man was NEVER COMING BACK TO THEIR STREET. They started crying. Soon anarchy ruled the streets.
As if this wasn’t enough, a dog who’d previously killed a neighbor’s chicken escaped through an open door and chased Mr. Tux (a cat) under another house. They fought. Like cats and dogs are wont to do. The next day, Mr. Tux was seen walking up the street with a shaved patch on his forehead. But the ice cream man did not cometh.
Story 2, as told by neighbors who talked to the homeowners:
The neighbors said the homeowners never much liked the ice cream truck because the song always repeated. Loud and incessantly. When the ice cream truck stopped at their house that day, they politely asked him to park somewhere else. The driver said “No” he wouldn’t, so they asked him to at least turn off the music. Again, the driver said “No” because the entire ice cream truck system would turn off including the refrigeration which, of course, was keeping the ice cream frozen.
The subject of the inferior ice cream was brought up, and the driver became belligerent, pointing his finger in their faces. The driver announced he’d never come back to this neighborhood again. At this time, the husband said he made sure there were no children around as he threatened to report the ice cream driver to the city.
But there were children around, and they were crying.
Story 3, as told by the homeowners. STAY TUNED!