Gone are the days of summer…and the days of the ‘ice cream man.’ Or so you thought. While working at your computer Sunday afternoon, you thought you heard distant music. You recognized the sound immediately–it had to be the ice cream man! No other music has that tinkly, wobbly sound, as if in slow motion, and broadcast via an old speaker.
How can he suddenly return, after a fifteen year sabbatical? And why now, in the fall? To gear children up for Halloween treats? And why now, that your last child just left for college?
Fifteen years ago, another ice cream man from Eastern Europe found our street and our house. He spoke enough English to serve my children nutty buddies and popsicles. He returned several more times, then disappeared from sight. Before he vanished, you were able to record the music rounding the bend of your cul-de-sac, and your dog and your children running to the door and spilling out into the yard to the curb. Your dog had learned to recognize the sound of that music, and sped like a bullet, barking with glee.
As a child, and now well into adulthood, there was something always so magical about this special truck showing up on your street. Mainly the element of having a surprise treat, you suppose. Hearing and seeing the van always reminds you that the good old days never left, that they can return in an instant. And that this can happen as simply as catching an Andy Griffith rerun.
So this time, you, too, head outside to wave, holding the dog, for old times’ sake. Luckily there is one child nearby to procure a last summer treat. You take a photo and send it to your children, who now live in different states, and call out, “Come back for Thanksgiving, when my children are back!” He grins and nods and drives off. You are filled with wonderful memories of lightning bugs and mailbox tag and walking to the neighborhood pool down the street. Priceless.