Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In defense of the Ice Cream Man

One of my good friends posted on Facebook yesterday that the Ice Cream Man came through the neighborhood around 9 p.m., and wondered if other people thought that was strange.

Not me. I grew up in the town she lives in now, and I remember waiting on the curb until sundown with my neighbor friends, wishing and hoping that the ice cream man would come by so I could buy an orange push-up with the money I'd saved going door to door, selling stickers or a tap dance performance.

To me, 9 p.m. seems like a perfectly acceptable time for the Ice Cream Man to make his final round.

Of course, my son has a couple good hours left in him at 9 p.m., although I know many kids are in bed by then. But I say, if the sun is still shining, the Ice Cream Man is welcome on my street.

But my friend's friends were all quick to post that they thought it was creepy for him to be there at 9, and that being an Ice Cream Man is creepy in general.

Say what?!

My husband and I are advocates for our son's safety, to the point that some people think we are overprotective. But I'm not the least bit leery of the Ice Cream Man.

First of all, he is not sneaking up on anyone, and he is making everyone fully aware of his presence as he plays his happy tunes through the neighborhood. Secondly, he would have to be incredibly stupid to do anything bad while he's driving a giant music box with ice cream cones painted on the side.

I guess it just makes me sad that something that is meant to be fun and bring joy and fun memories is written off as "creepy." I know there are bad people in the world, and I know we have to be careful and teach our kids to be careful. But I don't want my child to internalize that people he doesn't know are suspicious or scary, and I especially don't want him to think that things that seem joyful are inherently suspicious.

So what's the balance? I'm not sure. Of course I want to keep my child safe always and teach him what he needs to know to be smart about these kinds of things. But I don't think that means that we run and hide from things and people that are unfamiliar. What do you think?


Kristina P. said...

I honestly wish the ice cream man came through here. I need a Pink Panther ice cream!

lavendergrl said...

I remember the ice cream truck coming even later here on my street, closer to 10 p.m. It's the summertime. There are some kids out until nearly midnight every night. It's just part of growing up in a small town.

lavendergrl said...

I remember the ice cream truck coming even later here on my street, closer to 10 p.m. It's the summertime. There are some kids out until nearly midnight every night. It's just part of growing up in a small town.

valentine said...

I don't think being an ice cream man automatically makes you creepy, but I would say that there are probably a couple of creepy apples that have ruined the bunch.

I am surprised that there are still even ice cream trucks around, I guess I just thought they had died out.....

NIKOL said...

I would think it would be weird if the ice cream man came around at 9pm. Very weird. But, that's when it's dark around here. And I live in a large city in California, where small children aren't out at night. I think it really depends on where you live.

I don't think that kids have to run and hide from everything unfamiliar, and I don't think it's wise to teach them to mistrust anything and anyone they don't know. You just have to teach them to be smart.

As a kid, our local ice cream man was also the local pot dealer. So my opinion of the ice cream man is tainted. I personally keep my children away from the ice cream man. They can experience the joy of ice cream from our freezer.

*LaUrA* said...

I totally agree with you. People are really quick these days to label everything as "creepy". But rightly so I guess as the "creepy" have ruined it for everybody. 9:00 pm does seem rather late but I guess if you are driving the whole town you can't be everywhere at 6:00 when it might be more acceptable to many...so 9:00 pm it is! And if he sells 2 of his overpriced ice cream bars then he will at least be making minimum wage!

I love the sound of the ice cream truck. It still excites me to hear the bell ringing and I still usually have to have a peek out the window to watch him drive by..haha. Whe I was 3-4 years old I could always hear the ice cream truck....but I could NEVER find it. Nate and I would take off running for the sound but the ice cream truck always alluded us. So, it is something that brings back those memories and the determination to get our hands on the cold treats. I also want to cry for little 3 year old me because it broke my heart every time I couldn't find him...haha.

So yes, I let Carter get ice cream almost every time the truck comes by. But 3.50 for a Spongebob Ice Cream kind of makes my wallet cry a little bit;)

I did like this post! It remind me of people who see that a "stranger" stop by their blog and they quickly freak out and assume everyone is now going to be kidnapped, their house will be robbed, and their identity stolen. But most likely...it was just be...surfing through friends of friends of friends:)

julie said...

Amen. The Ice Cream Man is just a childhood joy! I too saved up for the push-ups. And I still love the memory of running after the ice cream truck sound trying to find it. One time, we saw it parked at his house and even knocked on the door and asked if we could buy some ice cream. hahah, now we could be called creepy!

Truth is, most people that actually are "creepy" or dangerous, end up being people you know, or relatives. As scary as that is, it's the truth. Strangers generally are safe. So really, people should be leery of that questionable uncle, not the man driving 5 miles an hour handing out treats for a dollar.

jen said...

The only part of the ice cream truck that I think is creepy is the music after it passes you on the street...how it kind of changes pitch and stuff. Do you know what I'm talking about?
I don't think it's too late as long as it's still light outside. And yesterday at 9 pm was the longest day of the year - so kudos to the ice cream man!
Plus, kids are generally assaulted by people they know. Not the ice cream man!

We live in a Zoo! said...

Yeah, as long as it's still light outside....
I think it's important to teach my kids to be careful when it comes to meeting/being around strangers. At the same time I try to encourage them to be nice and introduce themselves and make friends. All depending of course on the situation. The ice cream man would just be someone that I wouldn't want my child to go up to alone (being 5, 3, and 1) but my worry is that they'd get ripped off on the price. Lol!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

I kinda get the same feeling about Halloween now (although the ice cream man, for the reasons you talked about it so far on the other side of the pendulum). Everyone is so quick these days to judge and think bad of things that I think we take a lot of the carefree, easy going way of life away from our kids that we had.

Anonymous said...

I just think your blog is fantastic! Love this entry in particular because it touches on many of the issues that so many parents seem to wrestle with these days - which fascinates me.

Everyone needs to turn off the TV and meet their neighbors. It's not so scary out there. Really, I swear.