The Ice-Cream Man


Maple street. The middle of July. An ideal Saturday afternoon with temperatures at a fairly comfortable 80 degrees, the air permeated with the tantalizing smell of a barbecue or two around the neighborhood. Boys played pick-up baseball at the nearby recreational dugout. Girls played hopscotch and giggled at boys they fancied passing by on bicycles. Neighbors waved to each other as they passed on the chalk-laden sidewalks, and the trees were exuding the pleasant song of birds perched upon their branches. This was it. The perfect summer day.

 

A young, fair-haired boy named Bobby rode around the neighborhood aimlessly on his brand new, bright red Schwinn bicycle, which he had received as an 11th birthday present less than a month earlier. A small transistor radio was hanging from one of the handles, belting out Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time” at a boisterous volume.

Mr. Hargis, the resident Neighborhood Grouch, was watering his lawn and smoking a fresh cigar. Bobby, being fascinated by Mr. Hargis, stopped pedaling and planted his feet to the ground, watching intently from a safe distance. Mr. Hargis sensed the eyes on him and raised his head toward the direction, locking eyes with the boy. Normally he would have scowled and shooed away anybody he felt was bothering him (a.k.a. anybody), but the pleasant warmth of the afternoon Sun seemed to lift even his sour mood. He politely waved at him, and unless the Sun was playing tricks on his eyes, Bobby thought he saw the faint trace of a smile on the old man’s weathered face. Bobby, surprised by this rare show of friendliness from Mr. Hargis, waved back, if a little tentatively.

He continued past the Hargis place and pedaled on toward the nearby dugout. As he did so, he saw several neighbors walking their dogs along the sidewalk. They each exchanged a friendly smile as they passed by one another, pulling their dogs away from each other and continuing on their way. Bobby had never seen such a show of happiness and community in the neighborhood before; the weather sure seemed to be having its effect.

Three blocks down and he was there. The field was occupied with two full teams (Jimmy, his best friend, was up at bat), with several others sitting on the bleachers, watching and cheering on their friends. There was also a small group of girls just outside the dugout fence watching their favorite players. As the boy rode past them, he heard a single whistle followed by a brief chorus of giggles. He looked back while riding and couldn’t tell who it was, but gave a shy grin just the same.





About me

This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)