Come, Mommy

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Ice Cream Truck

Until last night, Liam had never seen an ice cream truck. They are around our town. I hear them from time to time, but have yet to see one in our neighborhood. Kevin and I have been thankful about this, since ice cream trucks seem to have this tendency to show up at dinner time, and we're not really looking for another source of friction during the time of day when everyone's moods tend towards the cranky and tired.

Last night, we were at the park. It was hot and sticky, we'd had a fine time playing, and we were resting on the grass thinking about heading home. At that moment an ice cream truck pulled into the parking lot. Kevin groaned, then apparently thought about the heat, and asked me, "What do you think?"

Liam was all excited at the new concept of a truck playing music. Two of his favorite things, music and motor vehicles, all in one. Then two little boys ran past us yelling, "Ice cream!" He looked quite confused at this development.

A couple of girls ran by yelling, "Ice cream!" Apparently realizing that this exciting new kind of truck not only had music but just might have something to do with his third favorite thing, ice cream, Liam started towards the truck. He then stopped with his hand in his mouth mumbling something about the truck being very loud and something else about what ice cream where.

Then ten or twelve little kids ran towards the truck yelling, "Ice cream." I looked at Kevin and said, "The cat's out of the bag at this point. Let's buy him some ice cream." Kevin opened his wallet.

Liam continued to stare, entranced, at the truck. The truck was a vision of rust, mud, and ice cream ads. The engine was not running well, which is why it was so loud. Kids were pouring out of the woodwork to run towards this rather scary-looking vehicle, and Liam was as confused as I've ever seen him. I'm fairly sure he was having a mental argument along the lines of, "A Truck! With Music! I must go see this. But! It's loud. Too loud. Scary loud. I should stay here. But the kids are running over to it. Maybe I should follow. And what's with the ice cream? Ice cream comes from restaurants, not trucks. There can't be ice cream in that truck. Or could there be? Maybe? I should see for myself. But it's loud. But I love ice cream. Oh, what to do? What to do????"

Kevin handed me some money, I picked up Liam, and asked him if he wanted to buy ice cream from the truck. He looked ever so confused, but allowed as to how he would like some ice cream. We joined the line. (Then I was confused myself since I had never before realized ice cream is available in so many character shapes. I was relieved to find that the old-fashioned Dixie cup of ice cream is indeed alive and well.) We ordered, Liam handed the vendor our money, and we all sat down on some picnic benches to eat the ice cream.

The sun was going down as Liam wiped the last bit of dribbly chocolate on his sleeve, and we headed home. We may have started a bad habit here, and I don't really care. The amazement on my son's face as he figured out what the ice cream truck is all about was worth it. As was the delicious stickiness on his cheeks when I kissed him. Years from now when Liam is grown, this evening will be one those precious memories I hold dear to my heart.

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