On most Monday afternoons, my eight-year old, Matthew, and I will sneak out through the front door and wave down the ice cream man.  Matthew has already worked out a once-a-week ice cream arrangement with his mother on Fridays, but Monday is my day off, and Matthew knows that I am an easy hit on Mondays.  I do not mind.

When we hear the ice cream man’s tinny song blaring through the neighborhood, I grab my loose change while Matthew races to the curbside and waits, like a sentinel at his post with ants in his pants.

More often than not, Matthew goes for the Push Up.  I tend to favor the Crunch Bar.  Sometimes we share.

Our particular ice cream man is not exactly what you would call a warm, sociable person.  He bears a remarkable resemblance to Moe, the cranky bartender from the Simpsons, only creepier.  He rarely speaks a word, except to tell you how much you owe for the privilege of doing business with him.  If you fail to produce the proper change, he taps the counter twice with his knuckles and demands, “More!”  I suspect he otherwise keeps silent because speaking would likely get in the way of his chain-smoking, and his political talk radio, which is just barely audible above the monotone tune that blasts from the horn atop his old white truck.  Although it has yet to become a deal-breaker for Matthew and me, Matthew has noted more than once that the ice cream man is “sketchy.”  I reassure him that there’s more to being an ice cream man than not liking people.

I like my Crunch Bar more than I like my ice cream man.  It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.  Even still, as strange as it may sound, I really wouldn’t mind if he knew my name, or my son’s name, or if I knew his name and the names of his sons and daughters.  I wouldn’t mind if, one of these days, he’d turn off his music and his talk radio, step off his truck, and have a Crunch Bar with us.  I’d even buy the first round.  We could sit on the curbside and talk about how ministers and ice cream men have at least a few things in common: that most people come out to see you only once a week, that children are often responsible for bringing the parents out, that shouting “More!” to your regular “customers” is never very good for business.  That might be a start.

One of these Mondays I’ll buy my ice cream man a Crunch Bar, or a Push Up, and we’ll swap stories on the curbside.  Maybe the rest of the kids in the neighborhood could join us.  That would be something like a sacrament, I believe.


Photo Credit: iirraa