When I was your age...
As the spring makes its way back,
the familiar sound of the Mr. Softee
truck returns, bringing back memories
of children on my old, dead end road
running, screaming and scattering back
to their houses to beg their parents
for money to buy something - anything,
as if the ice cream truck wouldn't be
back again for the entire summer.
Most of the time, the truck would come
during dinner time, and I'd still have
a heaping pile of something nasty on my
plate that I had no intention of finishing,
I would ask for a dollar from my father,
and he'd share the same story each time
about how, when he was a kid, a quarter
would buy an ice cream cone for him,
his two brothers and two sisters.
I'd hear about the cold Minnesota winters
and a refresher about how he had to quit
school after his father died of tuberculosis
and join the Air Force.
My mother would tell me that her mother
never gave her or her brothers and sisters
any special treats and mostly screamed and
cursed at her, occasionally getting violent
enough to throw knives at her.
All I wanted was a dollar.
Instead, I was given a history lesson about
a time I cared very little about, since I was
roughly eight years old and didn't really
believe that they shared beds with their
siblings or were hit with window opening rods
by sinister nuns who beat insolent children.
All I wanted was that dollar before the truck
pulled away and I was stuck lamenting another missed
opportunity at having a Chip Candy Crunch bar.
It was met with my father's inevitable groan, a
reach in the pocket and a quick grab from me
as I sprinted out to that magical, musical truck
while he once again told my mother,
"He doesn't know how good he's got it."