Ice Cream Summers
La, la, la. Summer’s here, the kids are pouring out of schools, onto playgrounds and into pools. And I am going to ignore every disaster going on around me. Wildlife dying in the Gulf and up the east coast of my country? These things only happen in Other Countries, not mine.
I’m not going to read the breaking news on Twitter and instead go for an ice cream. When I was a kid the sound of the Good Humor truck bells was music to kids’ ears. We ran to our mothers for a dime or two and skipped to the gleaming white truck and the smiling man in uniform. A white uniform, not camouflage, and holding not an automatic weapon, but a Toasted Almond Bar. They told us little kids had been saved by our fathers from the enemies and war was gone forever. No wonder we grew up to be peace activists: our older brothers went to Korea, died in the snow, marched again into walls of foreign soldiers. Meanwhile, ice cream trucks all over the U.S.A. burned gasoline 12, 14 hours a day to keep our Creamsicles frozen.
In our used Hudson, Daddy took us for pleasure rides to his favorite cheap gas station. We’d stop for ice cream cones. Butter Crunch for Daddy, pistachio for Mommy, a world of choices for me.
Whoops, a headline snuck through: “Gay sex = domestic terrorism?” In high school it was Suzy and me at the ice cream parlor on Main Street near the railroad station, sipping ice cream sodas when we had the money, milkshakes when we had less, and coffee at our most broke. I guess we were domestic terrorists cause we were gay.
Is BP a domestic terrorist when it spills the wealth of the earth into our waters? What about all the kids who died in Iraq defending melted dinosaurs? In his home state, Hawaii, the ocean was sacred, said President Obama. Which is it, please: the ocean or the corporations that are sacred? The only solution is to Facebook my ice cream buddy, Heather, and reminisce with her about Brigham’s ice cream in New England, and connive to get together at Spiritus during Provincetown Women’s Week for Häagen-Dazs cones.
Dixie Cups weren’t confined to the bathroom in the 1950s, they held 2.5 ounce servings of ice cream that you ate with wooden spoons and, until I was nine, had pictures of baseball players or movie stars on the inside of the lids. Even though Dixie Cups were invented in Massachusetts, they were called Hoodsies in New England after the dairy manufacturer, Hood. Did they have Dixie Cups in old Dixie? In Alabama a billboard reads: Where is the Birth Certificate? The Georgia-Pacific Corporation owns Dixie Cups now, converting trees directly into ice cream cups for our convenience. La, la, la. Not thinking about the consequences of overpopulation and scarce resources.
Here in Florida, Governor Crist just vetoed a bill that would have required women planning abortions be shown a video of the fetus. This Crist guy has some gumption. Coming partly from Irish Catholic stock, my ancestors helped overpopulate the planet. Mommy, Daddy and I would take the train up to Boston to see the four grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, the greats, the first, second and thirds cousins. On the train I’d eat my homemade sandwich quick before the ice cream guy came down the aisle. He dug through dry ice steam into a box on a strap around his neck for paper squares of ice cream hard as rock. Vacation recreation involved piling the family into Uncle Jimmy’s Kaiser to drive a mom and pop ice cream stand.
La, la, la. That was back before the superhighways were built to drain yet more of the oily stuff and take Great Aunt Maggie’s home by eminent domain and her beloved cat couldn’t go with her to the senior housing where she died, hustled off like a criminal to a jail so I could years later drive like the domestic terrorist I must have been away from my parents and back to Connecticut where my lover welcomed me with a pint of Breyer’s ice cream.
“Plane crashes into eastern Ariz. high school;” “16 dead, dozens missing in Ark. floods;” mine explosions; foreclosure epidemic; bankrupt American dream; dictators with nukes. My mother liked to chant, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”
The headlines keep on coming. It’s my fiancée’s birthday this weekend. Maybe we’ll go out for a ride and find a Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop. Will Ben and Jerry’s ever do a rainbow ice cream and call it Domestic Terror Bliss? La, la, la.
Email Lee Lynch at email@example.com.