I wonder if I’ll ever run out of stories from our time in Connecticut this summer. Those weeks will never fade from memory, they were life changing and awful. But in between all the awful, there were some random moments that pop into my memory every now and then, stories that maybe seemed insignificant in the midst of losing Dad, but lie waiting for their day to be told.
This is one of those stories. Yay!
Uncle Mistah Schklekah made his living driving an ice cream truck one summer, and he once told us a story that has become legendary family folklore. The Schlekah could spend an hour telling you this story, and I’m sure there are many details that I’ll get wrong in my cliff notes version. (I’m sorry about that, Mistah. I was probably drunk, or not listening. Details often bore me). But the gist of it is that a couple of kids came to buy treats from the ice cream truck with their grandpa one day. The kids were, as kids are, indecisive, and the grandpa was growing impatient. Finally, one of the kids made his choice, asking for a packet of sunflower seeds. The grandpa objected, saying: “This ain’t no damn seed truck!”
My kids love this story, mostly because it has a bad word, but also because it’s funny, and thus we often refer to the ice cream truck as the seed truck.
Flash forward to early August, 2010. The kids and I are visiting New London in the last few days before we head back to California. We’re all packed up in the Westy for a beach day, we’ve got coolers and grinders and a radio and chairs and a ‘brally, and we’re enjoying a scenic drive through lovely New London on our way to Ocean Beach (east).
We spot an ice cream truck up ahead, and Bill and Ellie say that it’s Big Jim or Little Bob or Fat Albert or whomever the guy is who runs the operation. I ask: “Is that a seed truck?” because I like to confirm the obvious. Ellie and Bill respond: “That’s THE seed truck!”
We’re all super excited as we come up next to the infamous seed truck. Schlekah bops the horn and Little Richard, who has observed our approach in his rearview mirror, is already leaning out to say hello when we come to stop at a red light. When he looks back to see that there are bona fide children riding in the back of the Westy, he turns and in one fluid motion, grabs one and then another thing from behind his seat, and tosses each through the two open windows to Ellie. Ellie continues the smooth momentum by relaying the packets into the back, where my girl catches them. With her face. She’s not exactly known for fluid, smooth movements. Only when the items have been caught and handed to each kid and Big Red thanked with a goodbye wave do we look down to see what’s our bounty.
You’re expecting sunflower seeds, right?
Only in New London.
People, I have scarcely laughed so hard in my life. Candy freaking cigarettes! Complete with the discolored stain to indicate a filter and red tip to indicate a burn.
This ain't no damn seed truck. Indeed.