July Fourth and ice cream go hand in hand

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

When I heard the music of an ice cream truck in Clanton a few days ago, it brought back some good times.

An ice cream truck used to come down our street in the summer when my cousins and I were kids. I can’t exactly remember the tune it played, but a melody of bells would signal the truck’s arrival shortly before it came into sight.

We always knew what time of day the truck would come by, and we didn’t mind waiting in the hot sun. Sometimes we would hear it from inside the house and make a mad dash for the driveway. We had a little extra time because he would usually stop for the neighbors across the street first.

Our grandmother would walk to the end of the driveway, and the ice cream man would see us and pull off the road. He was a tall, slender guy with sunglasses and a straw hat. She would gladly give him the money, and as he opened the freezer door we could feel the cold air spilling out.

We all had our favorite items to order. One of the favorites was a combination of candy and ice cream that looked like a spaceship. The ice cream would start melting in our hands as we tried to savor it.

One time, we missed the truck and had to drive a block or two to catch up with it. Our grandmother let us out at the nearest street corner just ahead of him, and our efforts were rewarded.

This was the holy grail of summer at this time in our lives, which didn’t seem to last very long because our interests and attention spans would become more complicated.

But on July 4, the fireworks and ice cream always take me back to those days. They make it seem like the only time that ever existed was just a string of July Fourths.

When you think about it, that wouldn’t be so bad.