When the sun is hot and high in the sky, and the children are playing in sprinklers, summer has fully arrived. The air is hot and humid. The days are long. We cook barbecues and have picnics. We sit on benches in the shade of sycamore trees in the city parks.
If there’s a neighborhood pool, we decide to go swimming. We call our friends to invite them to go with us and they scream, “Yes! Let’s do it!” over the phone. Grab the towels, put on your bathing suit, get your flip-flops and the sunscreen.
Traffic is heavy, people are going everywhere: out to a lake, downtown to a concert, over to the restaurant with the courtyard patio. The sidewalks are packed. Kids are running through the streets, riding bikes and skipping rope. One has a frisbee that he’s throwing with his neighbors. Another has sidewalk chalk and she’s making a rainbow drawing on her front steps.
Adults are gathered under awnings, telling stories and gossiping about politics and things they’ve heard. Passing cars fill the streets with blasting music that pours out of their open windows and sunroofs. School is out and the world is open.
Just when the world couldn’t feel more perfect – cheeseburgers, pickles, and potato salad are making their way onto plates, everybody is still dripping wet, and some are just waking from mid-afternoon naps – a faint sound can be heard steadily growing.
“What’s that?” people wonder. “I think I hear…”
“Ice cream truck!” the children yell with mania in their eyes, as all the adults internally groan. Every kid screams and surrounds it, like ants on a sugar cube.
Back come the kids. In all their zeal, they forgot that you have to pay for ice cream. “Mom, I want a bomb pop and Jamel wants a snowcone!”
“You still haven’t eaten your apple,” says Mom, practical and nourishingly.
“I’ll eat it after, please, Mom!” comes the reply. He’s single-minded. She gives up, the money is in his hand and he’s running. The line is long, and their minds are racing. Maybe I should get a King Cone instead, that chocolate looks crunchy and I love the peanuts. No, I want an ice cream sandwich! I wish I didn’t have to choose just one…