Do do do do do do, -do doooo. Do do do do do -da da daaaaaaaa. It’s all I hear as I arrive – at 11:30a.m. exactly.
The distinct melody of “It’s a Small World,” blares within my vintage 1970’s ice cream, and is just one of seven tunes that I have at my disposal. The same tune bangs out every day. It is the only one I can bare. I can’t do the whole Row, Row, Row Your Boat thing all day.
Yeah, laugh now.
I am the ice cream man.
Smiles immediately start beaming and every parent’s attention is sought as soon as little pleading eyes hit the Kelley’s Ice Cream truck once I appear from under the railroad bridge.
I pull up along the two-foot white cement boardwalk walls of Giant’s Neck Private beach club, which also connects with the large Rocky Neck State Park beach in southeastern Connecticut.
Here is where I will be spending the next five hours by myself- chugging waters, chewing sunflower seeds, stretching my back out, reading, stretching my arm, chewing the hell out of bubblegum cigars and watching people enjoy the 300-yard sand bar that the beach possesses — and of course dish out ice cream.
Here is where I will hear the waves ripple as I sit in my chair and lose weight sweating like a Backstreet Boy.
The sweat pours from me.
My long hair is frizzy and the wet tips (would) grab my face every time I reach into the cooler for another ice cream.
It’s always 10 to 15 degrees hotter in the truck.
The heat gets irritating enough, but what makes the situation worse is the usual dumb question: do you have air conditioning on that thing?
Come on people. My truck’s paint hasn’t been touched in 30 years, the radio doesn’t turn on, and it smells like diesel fuel mixed with hot garbage and melted sugar.
While on the truck, I had a lot of time to ponder my thoughts as a drug dealer.
Whoops! Did I say that?
That’s essentially what I was all summer. I was a legal drug dealer. People couldn’t get enough. Smiles would jump onto people’s faces every time they got an opportunity to make a selection from my truck.
Pushin’ cream, is what my buddies and I called it.
Running around looking for hot spots to sell my product so my paycheck would climb. I was in the rich neighborhoods and at the beaches for the first half of the day and in the city projects by late afternoon until nightfall.
I had every different kind of customer. The beaches had mostly upper-class families with children who were mainly just there for the summer. I would just drive by grand estates with incredible views dreaming to myself, as flocks of little kids would storm to my truck three times a day, everyday, to feed me their parent’s money and in return get deliciousness. These kids had it made.
I also had the other end of the spectrum. The inner city kids whose day you made just by showing up, playing the song and ringing the obnoxious bell again and again. It was different entering the projects. You either see very poor families with many children or lots of Islamic and Chinese minorities who are stationed close to the Pfizer scientific research plant. I can’t lie, sometimes I would cave in to the little girl in the city who couldn’t count her own change, and didn’t have enough, but wanted a bubblegum snow cone.
“Here! I want that one,” the girl yells before following with a pleading smile.
I mean, the devastation it does to kids when you tell them they cannot have ice cream is sometimes too much to bear.
I definitely had to choose my battles though.
Free Ice cream can’t be for everyone.
Some people are just ruthless and try to scam free stuff, others mean well and deserve it. In this case I would let free candy fly and make it rain crybaby gumballs just to get a laugh at how aggressive some children get when running after candy.
I also would check in with the skaters across town. The young athletes would slam Mountain Dews and eat baseball size jawbreakers all day as their bodies took nicks and bruises from wipeouts. These hyperactive kids could not get enough of a rush.
Then there was granny Thompson across town who needed her ice cream too.
Old people get excited at the site of an ice cream truck just as much as the children. Except usually you have to put up with their stories of how they can’t believe the ice cream man is still around, about how the prices were much lower, and how the toasted almond bar is still the best.
No granny, the Twix ice cream bar is.
All in all, I hustled hard this summer. I knew I was being paid based on what I sold. I got a quarter of whatever I sold allowing me to rake in around $15 (dollars) an hour slinging ice cream.
Yeah, so laugh now everyone who landscaped for less this summer and now have back problems.