Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sam, The Icecream Man

I secretly loathed the Kimberly subdivision growing up. Don't get me wrong, it was a great neighborhood and lots of my friends lived there. It had a swim/tennis club, was walking distance from Beechview Elementary, and the coveted Piper's Lane Safety Patrol Post was smack dab in the middle of it.

It wasn't that I thought Kimberly was a bad neighborhood. I just resented growing up in the unnamed-subdivision-next-to-Kimberly. The Ridgeway/Springland/La Muera situation was beautiful with lots of trees, a windy creek, a spooky church, and some great bike riding hills. It was just, well, geriatric. More distressing than the fact that most of my neighborly acquaintances were interested in social security and retirement plans over imaginary friends and cooties, was the notable absence of the icecream man.

The only thing separating Kimberly from not-Kimberly was a narrow stretch of woods. Walking down the path into my neighborhood felt like reentering the real world after a thrilling adventure in Narnia. On some lucky days, I would be halfway down La Muera when my ears would perk up to the faint sound of "The Entertainer."

"IT'S HIM! RUN!!!" I'd shout to whoever was with me, already on my way toward the music. Flying past the spooky church, over the woodchip path, and into the world of Kimberly, I'd shout "Hurry!" to the stragglers. Then I would exert all my strength to convey my marathon-worthy message:

"Hi. (Gasp.) Ummm. I live in the next neighborhood and we really like icecream too. (Gasp.) Ummm. My friend and my sisters are coming as fast (Gasp.) ummm as they can. (Gasp. Gasp.) Will you please wait? I really like drumsticks and crunch bars. (Gasp.) Thanks."

Then, one summer, it all changed.

My oldest brother, Sam, had recently returned from a 2-year mission for our church and had a few months to kill before heading back to school in the fall. So he became an icecream man for the summer. I can't fully describe how this changed my adolescent life.

Suddenly I went from icecream deprivation to having the truck parked in my driveway every night. And it was a great in with the girls in little league. Every one of them was impressed that my brother was Sam, The Icrecream Man. Even the snooty (private school) Sorrows girls were impressed. Instead of spitting on their hands before slapping fives after obliterating my softball team, they'd stop me to revel how my hot brother came to their school party with his icrecream truck:

"Please please please tell him hi for me!"
"He is SOOOOOO cute!"
"I can't believe he's your brother - you are so lucky!"
"He's so funny. We were cracking up like crazy."

After three months of hearing my animated reports after each softball game, Sam (13 years my senior) was more than ready to return to school and post-pubescent crushes. So it was that Sam abandoned the icrecream truck and I returned to old routines, ever listening for the faint sound of "The Entertainer" in Kimberly subdivision.

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