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Hounded by Good Humor

I’m in biker’s Nirvana again. This time it’s the neighborhood that surrounds the Naval Postgraduate School. Another place I come to find the sun’s benediction when foggy fingers have strangled the rest of the Peninsula.

It’s an old neighborhood, with modest but pricey little homes. Some have received trendily correct face lifts, new fences, interlocking driveway pavers, and pergolas over saltillo-tiled porches. Lines of daffodils salute along their neatly edged lawns. Prim plots host trellised tomato plants and petunias.

There are also dowdy bungalows with buckled floors, peeling paint and dilapidated fences. And these are precisely the ones with the glory: forgotten fruit trees perfuming the air with their musk - honey bees dive-bombing their virginal blossoms; the untended wisteria that droops over a weathered potting shed; wild lilac that spreads its purple majesty at the corner of a weed patch; and beguiling old rose vines that snake between rotten fence posts.

So, as I pedal and admire the views, I am taken aback when I hear a Good Humor truck – out of nowhere – getting louder and louder, gaining on me as the hideous loud speaker blares, “Pop! Goes the weasel . . . “

I pedal furiously to get away from the maddeningly repetitive song that conjures images of a Jack-in-the-box.
If I hear it repeat one more time, I know I’ll have the blasted song in my head all day long, at bed time and in the wee hours, “Da-dum-da-dum-da-dum-dum-dum-dum . . .”


The truck itself never materializes and the song eventually fades away.

My mind drifts to childhood, before I was allergic to dairy products, and what a joy it was to pedal after the little truck on a sultry Central Valley day. My sister and I would either take whole bites out of our dripping drumsticks, getting a multi-layered taste blast, or carefully gnaw away the nut-covered chocolate encasement to get to the drippy vanilla ice cream beneath. It sometimes sluiced down our arms and always left our fingers sticky.

Actually, it was best to have our feast while sitting in the swings at the park across the street from our house. Afterward, we would run through the walking sprinkler that inched its way around one of about six different garden areas surrounding our U-shaped interior-decorated home.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the impermanence of life, as more of my friends succumb to illness and death. And I miss the innocence of those firecracker hot summer days when the whole world stretched out like a languorous cat and the topic du jour was “boredom.”

What a contrast to my current mental pauses that compel me to “seize the day!” I finally figured out something most unsettling: each year of our lives becomes a smaller slice of our total life experience, thus, time will continue to speed up, moving us ever closer to our dirt nap (as in burial).

The days are never long enough to get it all in, to follow my dreams, take risks, love more, forgive and forgive some more.
Meanwhile, sans happy hormones, depression circles around like a buzzard.

Come to think of it, it’s such times when I do, indeed, need a visit from the Good Humor man.



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