I remember sitting in a ring with my fellow grade schoolers, anxiously waiting my turn to fill in the blank in the “Ice Cream Man” song . One classmate liked strawberry, another loved rainbow sherbert. The freckled-faced boy next to me preferred chocolate. And then it was my turn, “Ice cream man, do you know, I like bubblegum ice cream so!” Oh, the unnaturally bright blue ice cream with small bits of rainbow-colored bubblegum. Artificially colored and sweetened? Yes. Bits of gum that never blew into bubbles? Yep. Summed up in one word – DELICIOUS!
When I think of the ice cream man, I have flash backs of sizzling hot summers in Boise, Idaho. The neighbor kids, my brother and I riding our bikes, playing cops and robbers, “The Loveboat”, and games of H-O-R-S-E at the basketball hoop across the street. The long summer days got even better when we heard the magical tune of the ice cream truck, weaving it’s way through the surrounding blocks, as we frantically ran to our parents and begged for spare change. For me, sultry summers, the clinking tune of the ice cream truck and just being a kid, go hand in hand.
I guess that’s why, when I first heard this little ditty, I was confused. An ice cream truck. I never imagined that on a breezy, 45° F day, in the North Cape of Norway, an ice cream truck would meander its way up to our house. But it did, and does, every other week, year -round.
When my kids hear the song they go into a frenzy, running to all the windows in the house to see who can spot the ice cream man first. This usually leads to someone screaming and crying as they’re wacked out of a windowsill by a competitive sibling. And when the truck finally does stop in front of our house, more pushing and shoving ensues as they race to the street.
The truck looks and sounds pretty much like the ones I grew up with, but there’s one big difference on the menu.
Not only can you buy ice cream to your hearts delight, you can stock up on shrimp, fish cakes and whale steaks.
Last week we bought our regular – the family pack, and thought we’d support the Norwegian fishing industry by buying some cod fish cakes. The kids quarreled over who got to carry the boxes inside the house and while they devoured ice cream, I read the label on the fish cakes…… Alaskan pollock! I’m afraid to see where the ice cream comes from.
That bursted my little nostalgic bubble, but I am thankful my kids will have childhood memories of ice cream, fish cakes and frigid temperatures. And if I teach them the “Ice Cream Man” song, they might just sing, “Ice Cream Man, do you know, I like fish cakes and ice cream so!” Artificially colored and sweetened? Yes. Alaskan Pollack sold as Norwegian cod? Yep. Summed up in one word – DELICIOUS!