When I was a kid, we used to stand outside around 4pm, listening. Waiting for it. Listening for him. And then, when you were dripping sweat from your forehead, and your eyes were squinting from the sun, and your bathing suit was itching…you could hear the faintest jingle. The smallest tingle of what sounded like a music box. And it got louder and closer and then he rounded the corner and we would all belt out our excitement.
“Here he comes!”
“I know what I want!”
And with the coins pressed firmly in our hands, we would rush to the side of his whimsically painted van and clamor for the first spot. Looking over the pictures, scanning all of our choices. Rocket pop. Push up. Big Stick. Orangesicle. Drumstick. How to choose…what to pick? One by one, he would reach out and collect our money, and one by one we would be given the momentary desire of hearts. Sitting on the grass under a tree, sticky ice-cream or popsicle melting down our hands, stained red tongues and lips, happy and content for a moment in time – all of summer still ahead of us.
Times have changed quite a bit. Ice-cream vans have become a little piece of the past. My past. Still, once in a while, I still hear the jingle around our neighborhood of the Ice-Cream Man. It makes me smile, because it brings it all back to me. And even though we haven't caught him just yet – we have enjoyed one of the most pleasurable parts of summer.
Around these parts, the big summer treat is a Snow Cone! We have a lot of choices around town – and even a fun “pirate ship” we can visit to get our icy treats. I don’t know about you, but I had a “Snoopy Snow Cone Machine” when I was kid. I know that right now a lot of you are probably remembering that you or a friend had one too. It was Snoopy dog house and it was red and white. The ice churned in the center and came out the middle into your little cup. Then you poured the cherry or grape syrup on it and dove in with a spoon.
I’m genuinely happy to see my children “digging in” to one of Summer’s ICONIC treats. Sticky syrup dripping down their little chubby hands. Delight in every bite. Sharing and experiencing together. Creating their own memories of childhood with Summer snow…