Soft serve pastoral

Benny and I visited our friends Peter and Sally this weekend in the Valley. We don’t see them enough, and so I’m sure we overstayed our welcome (we actually invited ourselves over), but they were very gracious as they always are and insisted that we stay until the ice cream man came by.

The sun went down, we had eaten as many hot dogs and slices of grilling cheese as we could possibly cram into our stomachs, and still there was no ice cream man. “He comes at night,” Sally explained. Hm. “It’s soft serve!” Okay. We would have to see this ice cream man with his mysterious night-time soft serve.

Some time after 7 pm, we were playing dice games in the backyard when Peter and Sally’s heads shot up. “The ice cream man!” They sprinted toward the back gate that opened onto an alley. Benny and I heard nothing. No tinkling music, no slowly choogling motor, nothing.

Peter climbed halfway over the gate and started waving desperately. A van sped by. Peter waved more broadly as Sally shouted. “It’s okay, he’ll come around again.” Either the first time or the second time around (he was going really fast), the van driver finally stopped well past the gate and backed up to us. Peter managed to get the gate open. And that is where we saw this ice cream truck.

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There was something otherworldly about this truck, there was no denying it. The extensive menu including full dinner selections, the night-time silent speeding through alleyways – this was some secret and precious thing. Secret and precious even without a pastoral scene on the side panel of children swimming and playing

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and enjoying ice cream and Cheetos

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but of course this truck had that too. And yes, the soft serve was amazing.

Maybe this was all just a dream. If it was, thanks for the dream, Peter and Sally.

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