Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of an Era....


Oh my my, I'm your ice cream man, stop me when I'm passin' by, See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy...

("Ice Cream Man", Van Halen)



Two days in a row I have watched a Sheriff's Deputy squad car come driving ominously down our cul-de-sac--- and then stop in front of some unlucky family's home in order that he could deliver a foreclosure/eviction notice.

And these are families with children...

And each time it happened I stood on my front porch with my hand on my heart in sympathy for those poor people. And I also know that there, but for the grace of God, go Blaine and I. We barely dodged that same bullet last week during the Great Sprint Layoff, when Blaine managed to hold onto his job by the skin of his teeth.

And all this sadness is why, when I heard the sound of an ice-cream truck, I experienced a total surge in my spirits.

The ice-cream man was coming!!

But. things. didn't. go. very. well.

And I'm mad at the ice-cream man.


To me, there are few things as magical to hear on a sunny day than the sound of an approaching ice-cream truck, its cheerful silver bells playing a happy little ditty which acts as a Pied-Piper to draw forth hoards of neighborhood children, all waving their money in hand, anxious to buy all manner of delightful, frozen treats.

I remember when I was a very young child, before my family moved overseas, we lived in a little California neighborhood frequented by a Good Humor ice cream truck. Lord, how I loved to see that truck coming!

It would stop in the street and all the little kids would gather around its side window, screaming out which ice-creams they wanted. My mother would buy me one of the "candy necklaces", and I would purposefully take a really long time to eat it, "bead" by "bead". Hell, I loved ALL the things on the Good Humor truck--- wondrous things like Bomb Pops, ice cream sandwiches, Popsicles that turned my tongue colors, and those creamy Orange Dreamsicles...

(The trick to eating those double-sticked Popsicles was to figure out how NOT to let one whole half of the popsicle fall off when you had licked it down to a drippy, trickling mess....)

And, like a lot of my childhood loves, I held onto my fascination with ice-cream trucks long after I reached adulthood. (For that matter, I still adore watching the movie "Bambi", going to Knotts Berry Farm, and playing "Mousetrap".)

(Okay, and I also like to play with the Barbie dolls on the toy aisle in Walmart when Blaine is busy in the computer section....)

My trouble with ice-cream trucks began quite a few years ago, right after I had married Blaine. I'll tell you about it here so that you can understand my frustration with ice-cream men.

The Texas Ice-Cream Truck Incident:

At that time, Blaine and I lived in a suburb near Austin, Texas, called Pflugerville. And one day I heard the ice-cream truck coming--- and I ran out of the house barefooted like an idgity bat out of hell. But the minute I left the front door I knew I would have to speed it up even further because the stupid ice-cream truck was rolling down the street somewhat rapidly.

I soon caught up with three other little kids who were running after the truck too--- and the four of us raced down the street together. One of the kids was slightly pudgy and couldn't run as fast as the rest of us--- and I felt kinda sorry for him because I knew that he'd never catch that truck on his own.

Down the sidewalk we raced--- but the truck was going so fast that I feared it would get away from us. I knew it would be up to me---the fastest runner-- to catch the stupid thing. So, thinking I could cut it off at the streetcorner, I took a detour through a neighbor's yard.... not realizing until it was way too late that their unkempt lawn was chock-full of the dreaded Texan sticky-burrs...

... and I fell DOWN like a sack of rocks.

I had hit those sticky-burrs and instantly started stumbling--- then fell down altogether and started tumbling, rolling over and over myself while screaming in agony as my poor feet now had umpteen-eleven horrible sticky-burrs embedded in them----and then I screamed even more after all three of those other little kids--- who'd been hard on my heels--- all subsequently tripped over me when their own little feet were punctured by the evil sticky-burrs...

......and then all four of us ended up flopping around on that damnable lawn like beached flounder, screaming and holding our painful feets...

And none of us ever did catch that damn ice-cream truck.

Where was I?

Oh yes, I'm pissed off at the ice-cream man.


Anyway, so the other day I heard the ice-cream man coming for the first time in the season. And although I was happily knitting on my second Pinwheel Sweater (one into which I'm trying to put a lot of the colors black and red--- with some fair-isle patterns thrown in),

...and Leonard was innocently trying to sleep on me...

...I threw down my knitting and unceremoniously shoved poor sleeping Leonard aside---

...and I shot out the front door.

(Okay, and so I might have been using Little Baby as a footstool at the time--- and I may have accidentally stomped her in my haste to catch the ice-cream truck--- but I'm sure she'll forgive me come Tuna Time...)

But things did not go as I planned---

...and everything degenerated into a very bad deja-vu nightmare of that Pflugerville incident all over again.

Because that damn truck--- a "Frosty Treats" truck if I may say so--- came flying down the street like a dadgum NASCAR pacer vehicle, speeding six ways until Sunday just like that dratted Pflugerville truck had done!

Dammit---what IS IT with speeding ice-cream trucks?

Aren't ice-cream trucks supposed to drive SLOWLY around the neighborhood, stopping periodically when people flag them down to buy ice-cream? Why in the hell would an ice-cream truck SPEED?

I ask you, WHY?

This guy was flying down our street like the Dale Earnhardt of ice-cream trucks. But five or six of us hopeful ice-cream customers ran to the curb and obligingly waved our arms up and down, semaphore-fashion in the Internationally Accepted Flag-An-Ice-Cream-Truck-Down Language--- but it didn't do us the slightest bit of good...


But as the streaking truck blasted his way towards the end of our cul-de-sac, his silver bells jangling so loud that I thought they'd jangle themselves right off the truck, our hopes rose a bit--- because it looked for sure that he would have to stop since the street culminated in a dead-end. Some of us even stepped off the sidewalks into the street, thinking he'd be forced to stop and we could approach him....

But no! As he neared the dead-end of the street, the driver then stepped on the gas and peeled rubber while making a fast and furious U-turn!

And I knew better than to run after him this time--- oh, how I knew. No more sticky burrs for me, by God...

As the truck left us in his dust, I figured the whole sorry episode was over....

But then.... one lone, brave little kid ran into the middle of the street and took a defiant stance, shaking his tiny little fist at the fast-disappearing ice-cream truck...

...and I held my breath to hear what profound anguish he would scream...

"You fartknocker!" he hollered.


That's a new one on me. Fartknocker? I was thinking something along the lines of "butthead", "jerk", or "idiot" (or, in my southern accent, "idgit".) But "fartknocker"? But I guess the terminology changes from one generation to the next. When I was that little kid's age, we had a totally different set of classifications for use when "calling names".

One time in the 7th grade I was sitting in a math class next to my cousin, Dana Cherie. Dana Cherie was always a total juvenile delinquent and that day I was trying to IGNORE her insistent elbow-jabs and whispers--- because the teacher was looking directly as us with a very stern look on her face, and I didn't want to get into trouble YET AGAIN because of idgity Dana Cherie.

Finally, since Dana couldn't get a response from me (because I was always a goody-goody in front of teachers) (see my post on Eddie Haskell), she passed me a large, folded note. Before I even had a chance to open it, the teacher was on me like a duck on a junebug. "BO--HEE--MI--AN!" she hollered, enunciating every syllable of my first and last names. "You come right up to the front of the class and read that note aloud!"

I knew the teacher probably thought that forcing me to read a note from Dana would embarass the hell out of me and Dana Cherie--- but I knew Dana Cherie only too well and dreaded reading the note for completely different reasons than simply the humiliation of being caught passing notes. So, reluctantly, I shuffled up to the front of the class and read the damn note out loud...

"Doesn't that Poindexter sitting next to you look like a total booger-head?"

Good Lord, where was I?

You'll have to excuse me, but this whole ice-cream truck thing has totally discombobulated me and caused me to re-live traumatic events from my childhood...

Anyway, the first thing I did after this whole upsetting ice-cream truck incident was to stomp into the house and sit down at the computer to look up the telephone number of "Frosty Treats Ice-Cream Company" on the internet--- because I was going to call those yay-hoo's, by God, and give them a hearty piece of my mind.

But when I typed in the words "Frosty Treats" into the Google search engine....

(And so it is Googled, and so it shall be done....)

...I was horrified by what I found.

First there was this distressing article in the news.


And then this one.


Alas! What in the Sam Hill is going on in Ice-Cream-Truckdom?

I had no idea that the ice-cream truck business could ever be anything but happy, fun, and Mom's-Apple-Pie, you know? But I was undaunted. After reading those startling revelations, I called the Frosty Treats company on the phone and asked for the manager.

I finally reached someone who said they were the manager and I then politely explained what had happened. I reported to him that the guy had driven way too fast, which is bad for two reasons:

1) It's not safe to drive that fast because our neighborhood has lots of children playing on the sidewalks and in the streets; and

2) Ice-cream trucks are supposed to DRIVE SLOWLY in order that they may STOP easily when they see someone trying to get their attention. I reiterated that it didn't make any sense for the stupid truck to even COME to our neighborhood if the guy isn't going to STOP and SELL ICE-CREAM, right??

And after I explained all the above in what I thought was a logical, courteous manner, what do you think the manager of Frosty Treats said?

He shrugged it off by saying: "Oh well, there's really nothing I can do about it unless I know which driver it is. The drivers don't have specific routes--- they go wherever they feel like at the moment. But if you can catch the number of the truck next time he comes by, give me a call and I'll see what I can do."

* * * *


That night I attempted to complain to Blaine about what had happened. But I had no sooner related the whole sad tale when he erupted in laughter and remarked: "Did you run after him and fall down on sticky burrs again?" And as I responded with a withering look, he added: "Look, just do what the manager told you and catch the number on the truck next time."

* * * * * *

Second Epilogue:

And so I wait....



MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

:) So, apparently, they get paid $0.82/hr to *drive* the trucks - not to stop them, or sell the goods?


If it makes ya feel any better, you probably couldn't get any ice cream off the ice cream trucks here in Smellay. All kinds of crack, pot, etc., but no ice cream.

LOVE the colors on your new sunrise sweater. Loved the previous one, too.

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Sorry - I mean, PINWHEEL sweater. Geez. It's still early...

susan said...

Letter to Frosty Treats:

Listen here you Fartknockers...All I wanted was a "frosty treat!" Is that too much to ask?

I do love that new to me name, Fartknocker!

Maggie said...

Sorry Bo, but now days, many times those ice cream trucks are actually making drug deliveries..and you little kids don't need those sort of sweets...It's a hard and cruel world, that's why we like our soft and cuddle yarns to cuddle up and occasionally even knit with...

Granny's Girls said...

Fartknocker? That is a scream I burst right out laughing. Enjoyed the post. Thanks, Susan

P. Harper said...

Contrary to popular believe, there are still decent ice cream truck drivers out there. I know of one in Mesa AZ which is very popular with the kids. My granddaughters bought lots of ice cream off that truck before they moved to a new neighborhood. I haven't found out yet if they have another ice cream truck that passes their new place.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, I'm amazed that anybody bothers to read this nonsense blog. What a sad view. Get a life, you're totally empty...