I Scream, You Scream

The ice cream man is causing ill humor in Downers Grove neighborhoods.

It’s not a stretch to imagine the scene:

My family and I sit down to dinner in our dining room (yes, the dining room—it’s there, so we’re going to use it). The weather is gorgeous, finally, and the windows are open wide. We’re eating and chatting (and bickering, but try to ignore that part) as neighbors saunter by, and cardinals sing outside the window. When. . .


It's the ice cream man.

Now imagine a Friday evening: My husband is home from work, tackling some light yard work and feeling guilty he hasn’t had a chance to do more. But the kids want to play at the park, so we walk down the block. Soon half the neighborhood has joined us; kids play and parents laugh. It’s another idyllic night in Downers Grove until. . .


He's baaack.

I rarely was allowed to partake in ice cream truck offerings as a kid. Likewise, my kids already know the answer when they hear that blaring electronic muzak, and that answer is “no.” It’s “no” because the “ice cream” is overpriced junk, and I’m nothing if not an ice cream snob. I also refuse to submit to a treat before dinner or a second dessert just because a shady-looking van drives by.

I admit I feel a little mean—I remember the thrill of hearing the truck coming, running inside just in case my mom changed her mind, then running down the block to catch up with a handful of quarters. Granted, on my cul-du-sac in the 1980s, a visit from the ice cream man was a special occurrence. Now his drive-by is a daily ritual whenever temps are above 45°, and it’s grown tiresome.

The ice cream man has intruded upon playtime in our yard, preschool picnics, my son’s baseball games, even a family wedding (although it wasn’t local). We hear him winding through our neighborhood well before the truck passes our house, and long after, too.

Those minutes would be more tolerable if I thought they were anything more than an attempt to make a few bucks off of kids eager for a high fructose corn syrup fix. Or maybe if the van was a real ice cream truck with a bell, just for old times’ sake.

But the way it is? The magic is gone. I think it’s time for the ice cream man to disappear, too.

Rick Anderson May 16, 2011 at 04:35 AM
I equate the ice cream truck music to watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur. It grates on me. I'd rather be waterboarded.
Doug Grier May 18, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Well at least in NE Downers the ice cream truck drowns out all the noise from the jets flying over our heads every 30 seconds and the constant drone of highway traffic from 88/355/Ogden punctuated by tear down construction. Pick your poison I guess.
David Fisher May 27, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Just finished chasing down the Ice cream truck over 3 1/2 blocks with my 3 year old on the back of my bike and my 8 year old cutting through back yards and driveways to catch the music man selling treats. $4 for 2 fudgecicles. Totally worth it! The chase along with searching the streeets as the music fadesto locate the truck is half the fun! Happy Memorial Day Folks! Please remember our fallen Vetrans and service personnel who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can do things like this with our kids. C'mon Summer!
Wendy Foster May 28, 2011 at 01:47 AM
An ice cream adventure--that's awesome David!
David Fisher May 28, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Being able to do this just as I did as a kid, is so wildly fun to share the experience with my kids.


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