This morning on my walk, I noticed something odd. Here we are, smack in the middle of summer break, and not a single child was outside playing. We live in an area where there are children galore, yet block after block, in the middle of suburbia, the only evidence of outdoor activity was the occasional bike ditched on a lawn or a stray ball forgotten in the gutter. And since I clearly don’t have a lot of important stuff to think about on these walks, it got me wondering how in the world the ice cream man makes a living anymore.
Now I know times have changed a bit, and these days we live in a more dangerous world, but when I was a kid, which wasn’t that long ago, all of us in the neighborhood would congregate as soon as the sun came up, and continue wreaking whatever havoc we were wreaking that day until well after sundown. Being inside was cruel and unusual punishment, and we would just use that time to plot our next outdoor escapade. Activities ranged from standard to ridiculous. We rode bikes, played tag, climbed trees, built forts…all the usual games.
One of the more ridiculous (and by ridiculous I mean stupid) games we played was called Cars. Cars involved hiding behind something, another car, a fence, or a hedge, whenever we saw a car coming down the street. We must not have been feeling very creative when we invented this one…but at any rate, we would faithfully dive behind nearby obstructions upon first sight of a car. On one occasion injury ensued, as it often did, when we all dove behind a bush and my friend’s Airwalk-clad foot came down on my eye. Shockingly, I didn’t end up with a black eye, and I’m pretty sure Cars was tabled for the day.
But no matter what we were up to, hearing the ice cream man’s telltale music always made us stop in our tracks. We’d all dash inside, beg our parents for some money, raid our piggybanks if we had to, and hope we could make it back out in time to catch him. My standard purchase was one of two things: a Choco Taco or a Missile Pop.
Two side notes regarding ice cream:
1. If you’ve never had a Choco Taco, stop reading right now, get in your car, and find your nearest convenience store with an ice cream case. Track down the ice cream man if you have to (wherever he may be these days). We recently introduced this culinary delight to Andy’s 90-year old aunt. She was very skeptical upon hearing the description of a chocolate covered ice cream taco, but finally agreed to try a bite of Andy’s, after which she promptly instructed him to go buy her one of her own.
2. When my sister was little, my mom didn’t want to have to buy her ice cream all the time, so she told her that the colorful, singing truck driving up and down the street was just the “music truck,” and that it’s sole purpose was to entertain the masses with Pop Goes the Weasel on repeat. Apparently, my mom got away with this
lie story until my sister hit the wise old age of four, when she was tipped off by a neighbor who unknowingly broke the news when he offered to buy her a treat. My mom curses him to this day. (In an unrelated “my-mom-lied-to-her-kids-a-lot-just-for-the-fun-of-it” story, she told me that dragonflies could sew your mouth shut. To this day I am terrified of dragonflies. Thanks Mom.)
Anyway…all this long-winded reminiscing is just to say that the ice cream man used to drive by several times a day, every day of the week. Now I can’t remember when I last heard one, but I can only imagine that it’s because there are no kids outside. If I were the ice cream man, I wouldn’t waste my time either. I’d just sit in the shade eating my weight in Choco Tacos. (Based on that, I’d better scratch “Ice Cream Man” off my list of professions to try.)
If you made it this far in my ramblings, thank you…your reward is a boozy popsicle.
Mango Mojito Pops
1 1/2 cups chopped mango (2 mangoes)
1 ounce rum (I used Bacardi Superior White)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped mint
1/2 cup water
Put mangoes, rum, lime juice and sugar into a blender. Run until mixture is completely smooth. (Taste to check sweetness. Add more sugar if desired.) Add mint and water. Pulse until water is just blended into mixture and you can still see flecks of mint.
Pour into popsicle molds and place popsicle sticks into the middle of each. Freeze. Once frozen through, run molds under warm water to release.
Try these for a minty, fresh happy hour on a stick. Or just eat a Choco Taco. Both are fantastic.
You won’t care where the ice cream man is when you have these in your freezer. And when your kids complain that they can’t eat them, just tell them it could be worse…at least they aren’t scared of dragonflies.