I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. And though it provided all the fresh garden vegetables, apples from an orchard, and livestock freshly butchered for meat we could possibly want; there was a frozen food truck from a company called Schwan’s that would stop on occasion to sell pizzas, ice cream novelties, and a plethora of other menu selections.
As a teenager, I gorged on their mini-pepperoni pizzas and they sold a cherry nut ice cream that was always my father’s favorite.
Sometimes, we would get chicken strips or ice cream “drumsticks” that barely had enough time to stay crystallized before we inhaled them.
In an age where front-door fast food and grocery delivery service has become prolific, we grow lazier and lazier as a society continuously commanding convenience. We sit on our ever-expanding backsides to avoid the commute, the people, and the hassle.
And we pay good money for the privilege.
I admit that I will occasionally succumb to the command, but the event is rare. I don’t mind grocery shopping all that much, but I am overly-guilty of committing the cardinal sin of shopping out of desperation when there is not a morsel left in the house and my insides are eating me alive.
It was nearly five months ago when I heard the annoying, tinny, poorly-duplicated renditions of the Christmas carols.
Ice cream truck?
No. That couldn’t be. Do they even still exist?
I didn’t grow up – nor have I ever lived – in an area where one was anything but a quaint memory of a by-gone era.
Five o’clock exactly. How many blocks away? The tinkling, off-key melody got louder and louder as the truck would seemingly get closer and closer.
Having been the holidays, I chalked the sound up to a decoration or display that a nearby neighbor must have had in their yard, and one that came to life as darkness set in.
There couldn’t possibly be an ice cream truck roaming the suburban streets, selling their sweet and chilling wares.
Months passed but not did a day without hearing the same haunting echo at the same time every day.
Though the mysterious vehicle never seemed to reach my street, its blaring tunes alerted the neighborhood residents to its presence. Many were the occasions, that fell victim to laziness, that I fought temptation just to jump in my car and hunt the damn thing down for no other reason than my peace of mind.
It was one week ago on a Saturday night as I was getting ready to explore my new music venue that the unmistakable music was loud, clear, and enticing right out my front door.
You would have thought that someone was knocking on my door to announce to me that I had just won the lottery. I lost my mind.
IT IS! IT IS AN ICE CREAM TRUCK!
I have never actually seen one in real life. I’ve seen tons of food trucks that have become the go-to fad in the last few years. And though, mostly stupidly expensive, I actually really enjoy ordering food from them. I will be the first to admit great surprise in finding the decent quality of food a roaming restaurant has to offer.
But an ice cream truck is a completely different and unique animal.
I love ice cream. I’m quite convinced that it is a staple upon which I could base my existence.
When I was pregnant with my soon-to-be 10-pound child and my stomach was crammed up into my throat to make room for the growing love inside me, I could digest very little.
If you are what you eat, my son is a Dairy Queen parfait.
I equate ice cream to sex: it’s all good. But some is better than others 🙂
Wasting little thought and ever so briefly delaying my shower, I grabbed my wallet and removed every bill that it held.
The music was becoming faint and the oddest panic overwhelmed me as I went flying out my front door to catch the truck before it vacated my neighborhood street.
Finding the vehicle stopped less than a block away and servicing a small boy, I stepped up my pace with an enthusiasm that electrified me.
For the first time in my life, I was going to buy ice cream from a truck.
It tickled me beyond belief.
I raced up to the truck, a giddy little girl who was gushing to the driver and the woman distributing the goodies.
“I grew up on a farm! I’ve never bought ice cream from a truck!”
They must have thought me completely mad, but they were so unbelievably sweet and accommodating, and I believe that they enjoyed the fact that their service had been validated as one that was appreciated.
My eyes raced over the menu posted on the side of the truck. It was completed irrelevant what I got.
It was ice cream.
I ordered a chocolate ice cream drumstick with a waffle cone and I handed the lady a dollar tip. She handed me a card that I hung by a magnet on my refrigerator when I returned to the house.
I ripped open the package and devoured with absolute glee the sweet, succulent treasure that I had accumulated.
I was happy. I was satiated. I had done something that I’d never before done in my life.
I bought ice cream from a music-blaring, colorfully-painted traveling store.
It was a wonderment.
Life can be hard. It can be soul-crushing, heart-wrenching, draining, and disappointing.
We look to the sky to understand the big picture. We look to those around us for grand gestures.
All futile attempts at satisfaction, those that are almost certainly guaranteed to leave us even more down-trodden.
In seeking with big eyes, we miss the smallest, simplest pleasures. Those which we’ve never experienced before. That which is unexpected and weird.
That to which we’d never before given any consideration.
The next time you hear the tinny, tinkling chimes of an ice cream truck – chase it down.
Enjoy the sweetness that life still possesses, only if you are open to the experience.
Chase the truck. Eat the drumstick. Smile and be satisfied.
*This piece is dedicated to J.R. Thank you for your conversation – Tesla, Germany, music, passion. It was such a pleasure meeting you.