The ice cream man! The ice cream man! My kids would be absolutely frantic when theyd hear the music playing from the next street over. Quick! Drop everything, run into the house and scrounge for quarters. Hes at the end of our street! Hurry!
My children could have popcicles and ice cream sundaes from our freezer anytime they wanted, but there was something magical about purchasing a treat from a man in a truck
with a sound system that played turkey in the Straw over and over, until all the kids had streaked out of their houses, clutching their money with excitement and anticipation.
I recall feeling the same excitement when the ice cream man of my youth pushed a cart down the street, on foot, with a little bicycle bell. He had one product to sell, the Eskimo Pie. No bomb pops, pushups, or drum sticks. Just Eskimo Pies.
In the summertime at Grandmas, out in the country, there was no ice cream man, but we had something better, the peddler. We never knew when hed show up, so it was always an event. Hed stop in the road out front with his truck, full of grocery-type items. We could climb up the steps and enter this treasure trove of goodies that were not on my Grandmothers regular shopping list. There were shelves of packaged cookies, potato chips, and soft drinks. I can still feel the joy in having a whole 6-pack carton of tall glass bottles of Knee High Grape Soda. There were probably other grocery items, like oranges and cans of soup, but it was the grape soda that was cause for celebration. Another favorite that the peddler brought was Teddy Snow Crop ice cream mix. We didnt have a freezer, so we didnt have ice cream on hand. You mixed this stuff with milk in an ice cube tray and set it on top of the block of ice in the ice box. After a few hours, it might become the consistency of pudding, but for us, it would have to do, until the next time we got to go into town and get real ice cream at the drug store. Im talking about the days when drug stores had soda fountains, and you would actually walk to the drug store and have a Coke at the counter.
Now, as I casually reach into my fridge for a Diet Pepsi or into my freezer for a carton of frozen yogurt, I think back about the times when these things were truly treats, something you got only on a special day, the day the peddler came.