The jingle reached in and grabbed me out of intertia.
No sound in my left ear– but the right one still works. Mostly.
That saccharine floating melody paraded somewhere down my block and my legs responded. First, hesitation.
How could I find it with my eroded hearing? It’s pinpointing location of sound that’s impossible.
Nostalgia wins. Sprinting outside, I whirled to listen.
Veered left first, then stopped. Had I missed it?? He’s moving far away.
Like Inigo Montoya with his father’s sword, I ask for guidance in finding direction.
We always called him the Eskimo Man, not the Ice Cream Man. Different truck, but same jingle.
Bomb pop. Must have a Bomb Pop!
I turn right and strain with my ears, scanning the block. Desolate.
Not giving up. Silence– out my range.
I run back to the center point at the end of my block.
I pray. God, where did he go?
I feel I should run to the right again. I begin… and the notes reappear.
I bolt toward toward those promising notes, running like that truck is my First Love. And I just need to see him again one more time– just to know that I can still have those feelings. Just to remember there’s still a girl full of wonder living in me.
Nothing could have stopped me, and nothing was in my way.
The Eskimo Man appeared, making a left turn from around the corner to my right. He turned into the intersection, going up my street.
I run toward the truck, catching up from the left. He sees me, slows, parks.
It’s white with a yellow sign– and “STOP for children.”
Smiling, I run to the other side.
And see the rainbow Sno-Cone. Sonic the Hedgehog, but not Mario. Where is Choco Taco??
The man smiles at me– a 33-year-old who chased him down, as excited as a six-year-old who saved their Tooth Fairy money.
“Can I have a Cherry Screwball?”
“Do you still have Bomb Pops??”
“Three dollars,” he tells me. The recession has hit the Eskimo Man, too.
“LOWER PRICES!!!” the sign in the window reads. Black permanent marker on white paper– the “o” colored yellow, red squiggles for emphasis under “Prices.”
I pay him, and offer the two singles as a tip.
“Too much!” he says with a smile.
This man, who is driving an ice cream truck with prices LOWER than they were 15 years ago– is humble. I insist.
He smiles, accepts it.
I run home, put the Bomb Pop in the freezer for later– still red, white, and blue.
Now, I feast.
The conical frozen confection seems the same size– but the two gumballs are tiny. I remember just one, bigger, gumball.
But it’s not about the taste.
It’s about the fact that somewhere out there, The Eskimo Man still exists.