Today I took Luke and Cooper to the park for a lovely spring outing at a place neither of them could break anything. Both of them had way too much energy, and as we walked to the park they informed me of certain things they assumed I didn't know. Things like, you shouldn't eat a pine cone, and that ducks are birds, not animals. It was very educational. When we arrived at the playground they exploded like rockets, running from one end to the other, going down every slide, telling kids why they shouldn't throw wood chips and basically having a fabulous time. I thought that they would run until they dropped and then I would have to load them onto my shoulders and carry them home like sacks of potatoes. But, then, the ice cream man arrived.
The first strains of "Jimmy Cracked Corn" could not be heard by any adult on the playground, though the ears of every child pricked up. Soon they were all standing there like Meerkats, waiting to see which direction they would have to run once the truck finally became visible. Finally it turned the corner and headed into the park. By the time the parents heard the synthesized carillon bells there was a full fledged stampede going on, and Luke and Cooper were right in front.
When I was a kid I loved the ice cream man, but I could never understand why my parents looked at him with dread. I get it now. Suddenly, any allegiance Cooper or Luke had for me was totally shifted to a stranger hawking sugar that they had never met. They had to have the ice cream, and if I wouldn't help them get it, well, that would probably ruin their lives.
Of course, I gave in. Once I saw that brightly colored display of sugar coated happiness I was brainwashed. Well, that and I like to buy the love of children, and for only four bucks I was suddenly a hero. Luke and Cooper devoured their bars like they were manna from heaven -- very sticky manna, but still good.
After the ice cream was gone we looked for a place to wash hands, but while it's warm enough for the ice cream man, it isn't for the parks to turn on the water. So, 45 minutes later I walked home with two boys who looked like they had been tarred and wood chipped. Only, under all the mess there was a shine, giant smiles of boys who had just gotten their first taste of summer.
Now, if only we could get the ice cream trucks to play Modest Mouse.