Outside, on the black tar of our driveway, my sister and I sat. It was always a scorching summer day, but our tiny bodies could handle it, if only for so long. We lived in a fairly safe neighborhood west of the cities, and we were well-behaved kids, so we could be out all by ourselves. Our little fingers grasped the chalk as we scraped words against the blackened rocks. “Name three boys you like,” we would ask each other. Yes, you guessed it: MASH. We wanted to create a future for ourselves, even if it was just for our dreams.
Right then and there, and this almost always happened while we were outside, we heard it. It was a sound that brought the brightest of smiles to our faces. We searched for whom ever was home at the time to ask the question that haunted our parents nearly every time: “Can we have money for the Ice Cream Man?”
Most days the answer was ‘yes’. As we approached the heat yet again, our next search began. I remember looking up and down the streets of our quiet neighborhood with only one thought in mind: we better not have missed it. And there, right before our eyes, was every child’s joy.
It took me a while to find exactly what my tummy craved at that moment, but when I found it, I was in heaven. It usually ended up being a bomb pop or a drumstick with the extra treat of chocolate in the cone. The heat no longer bothered me, and neither did the drips of ice cream on my hands. My sister ant I would always remember to say ‘thank you’. And we always knew he would be back, on the next hot day, looking out for us, making sure we all got our treat.
I have since moved away, but the ringing of the ice cream truck will stay with me wherever I am. I hope all the children in my old neighborhood get the same feeling I did – the feeling of a delicious chill on a hot summer day. And they may even have been interrupted in their own pursuits of creating their future. Yet, the chalk on the driveway would only stay until the next rainfall that would wash away all those futures. But we know that we can always go out and create more.