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thought i was a donut, ya tried to glaze me

4.21.2008

On Ice Cream



To me, nothing stands as a reminder that summer is coming more than Mister Softee. Even before the weather gets warm, you start hearing that familiar tune off in the background, a few blocks away, letting you know winter is coming to a close. When I was younger there was nothing I loved more than Mister S. Back then he used to give us free bubble gum--overly-chewey gum hidden beneath a hard, flavorless shell. The gum's flavor lasted all of 2 minutes, and I used to try to eat as many pieces as possible just to get a decent sized wad in my mouth. When I had money, I'd get one of three things, depending on my mood: a SnoCone, the Baseball Mit pop (with bubble-gum baseball), or a Baby Rattle. A Baby Rattle is a chocolate soft-serve cone with sprinkles at the bottom of the cone, creating a rattling sound. I'd usually shake the cone right away, since the longer you kept the cone still, the more the ice cream would melt down and solidify the sprinkles. However, when I shook the ice cream to hear the sprinkles at the bottom, the sprinkles at the top--half chocolate, half rainbow, which was another big draw for the Baby Rattle--would fly off. So really, it was lose-lose situation when it came to sprinkles, depending on how badly I wanted to hear that chika-chika in the cone.

I used to think there was only one Mister Softee, and that he somehow managed to get his one truck around to all the children of New York City before nightfall. This made him seem like Santa Claus to me, magical and a lot more available to me, being around more than once a year. I always wondered where he parked his van at night, and if he ever got tired, and where he used the bathroom. Gross. Anyone else ever wonder that?

I remember clearly one summer evening when I was around 6 or 7. My mom gave my older sister money to get us both ice cream. When we reached the truck and I gave Roseanne my order--a Baby Rattle, which was then only $1.25--she told me, "I don't know if we have enough money to get that. We might not have enough money for sprinkles. I'll just get you a chocolate cone." I had no clue as to how much money my mom had given us, and fully trusted that my sister would have the decency to split it equally.

A few minutes later she handed me my boring chocolate cone. I noticed she didn't have anything for herself. "Where's yours?" I asked, but she ignored me. Minutes later I watched in horror as Mister Softee handed my sister a white bag, with no change. Anyone who knows anything about ice cream from trucks knows that things put in bags are usually expensive. I watched as Roseanne pulled out a large cup. Inside was a chocolate milkshake. Being older and smarter, she knew the money my mom gave us could afford her the milkshake, the Holy Grail of Mister Softee desserts, if only I (unknowingly) made a sacrifice on sprinkles.

I burst out crying. I felt cheated, duped, lied to, betrayed, and I was still clutching the sprinkle-less cone melting in my hand. RoHo blew it off, saying it was no big deal. I, like the snitch that I was, immediately ran inside and told my mom.

I was given the money duties after that.

1 comment:

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