They told me several times about the ice cream man. I’m sorry to say, I only half heard. I was busy.
I was writing. I was cleaning the house. I was marshaling troops (that would be various children) to do their dishes and run loads of laundry. I was sweeping the floor. I was trying to remember the long to-do list associated with the upcoming music camp I would be teaching. I was trying to remember we had to get to church in an hour and I must tell the kids to get ready. The house was full to bursting with eight of my own nine children, most of whom had just poured through the door after a couple of hours at a baseball game, my nephew, my eleven year son’s friend who had spent the night, and my daughter’s college-age friend just walking in the door. (Can we say chaos?)
And one of the twins said something about the ice cream man parking his truck in our front yard.
That should have caught my attention.
As I said, I was busy. I smiled and sent someone to scrub the kitchen counter. I laughed. Ice cream men don’t park their trucks in people’s yards, after all.
A few minutes later, someone else mentioned the ice cream man in our driveway.
I got distracted almost immediately by the need to do something else. (Someone had not put on their shoes? Someone was wearing a dirty shirt?) My seventeen year old was discussing who would have the car. I realized their father had taken the other car to work. My son wanted to go to a party, and I’d promised him the car for a softball game and a graduation party. I had six children who needed to get to Mass. We managed to get it sorted out, with the decision made that the kids and I would walk home from Mass, and a large number of us piled into the car for him to drop us off at church.
And he mentioned the ice cream man.
Now, finally, with nothing to do but sit in the passenger seat, it dawned on me that the ice cream man was causing quite a stir around our house. He’d been mentioned a few times now.
“He stopped his truck,” my son said as he drove. “Right across the end of our driveway. He got out of the truck.”
Strange. I would have been a little worried—except all the kids seemed to be accounted for.
“Do you want ice cream?” he asked my kids in the yard.
“No, I’m good,” my seventeen year old told him.
The man proceeded to walk to our yard, where the sprinkler sat at the edge of the grass, and stick his head under the spray.
“Do you want some water?” my son asked.
“No, I’m good.” The ice cream man pulled his dripping head out of our sprinkler.
And he got back in his truck, presumably soaking wet, and drove away.
Just another (ab)normal day in the neighborhood.