We Chase an Ice Cream Truck

Nothing announces the arrival of summer like the slightly out of tune siren song of the ice cream truck. The ice cream truck that roams our neighborhood has a habit of trundling through close to bedtime on school nights, usually right after teeth are brushed. Not only is this inconvenient, it’s also a little suspect as far as I’m concerned.

Though I repeatedly deny the requests of my son, Ryan, to get something from the ice cream truck, he is not to be deterred. Finally I do that thing parents so often do when tired of saying no – I make a deal. I promise him we can get something from the ice cream truck when it’s not five minutes before bedtime on a school night.

It’s not long before the sound of cold treats on wheels is wafting through the window and Ryan is reminding me of my promise. Never mind that we were out all day at a festival and haven’t eaten anything healthy. Never mind that there’s plenty of delicious ice cream right there in our kitchen freezer. Never mind that I’ve got about five bucks left to my name until payday. A promise is a promise.

So we go.

But getting something from the ice cream truck is a lot easier said than done. The ice cream truck doesn’t actually come down our street, so we walked around the corner to see if we could follow the music and find the truck. The music was quickly fading and there was no ice cream truck in sight, so we walked back home and jumped in the car. By this time we couldn’t hear the ice cream truck at all but giving up was not an option. I slowly drove through the neighborhood with windows down and ears pricked. After a couple of circles around the ‘hood, we caught the faint sounds of the phantom ice cream truck. I used my mommy sonar to pinpoint and home in on the echoing refrains of “Turkey in the Straw,” and a couple of minutes later we had the truck in our sights.

It was at this point I was wondering a couple of things. First, is it completely weird that I’m chasing down an ice cream truck in my car and second, what exactly is the proper etiquette for flagging down an ice cream truck from a moving vehicle? Luckily we were now in a cul-de-sac so at least flagging the truck down became simply a matter of waving at the driver. We both pulled over and Ryan bounded out of the car.

I admit I was a little hesitant. This looked like the type of ice cream truck that might not actually sell ice cream. The truck had definitely seen better days. However, I’d flagged the guy down so I felt a wee bit obligated to follow through. Besides, it was still broad daylight and I’d hate to get this close only to disappoint Ryan.

I don’t know if the ice cream truck was strictly legit but they did actually have ice cream – not Ryan’s first or second choices but ice cream nonetheless. Ryan was able to pick something out and we were quickly on our way. As I drove down the street I saw other parents and kids coming out of their houses to greet the ice cream truck. I looked in the back seat to see Ryan in a state of ice cream-induced bliss.

Was it anything like the experiences I’d had with ice cream trucks as a kid? No. Did I think I might be a little nuts for jumping in the car to chase an ice cream truck? Maybe. Was it worth it? Totally. I kept my promise, Ryan was happy, and oh yeah – there was ice cream.

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