It’s always nice to wake up to sunshine on a day when you have an outdoor activity planned.
Last weekend, vendors and organizers of the annual Arts Alive were most pleased to be able to set up and display on a gorgeous August day.
Natasha Jones, my co-author, and I had fun selling our books, photography, poetry and talking to old friends and making new ones.
Creative people are usually poor salesmen and a kind word about our display is often taken as payment as gratefully as cash. Hence the term ‘starving artists.’
The sun brings out a great crowd and smell of food from ethnic venues and the sound of music from various sources adds to the festival atmosphere as people flit from booth to booth like bees in a flower garden, each one finding something, shiny, warm, or colorful to suit their fancy and take back home.
As the hot afternoon winds down I am returning to our display from a tour and I see an ice cream truck parked in the shade.
I think I will buy cold treats for Natasha and myself, and for Ken in the next booth. As I approach the truck, I recall memories of standing at the end of the driveway, holding tightly to little hands as the kids watched the jingling truck approaching.
There were always quarters and 50 cent pieces in the dish on the window sill, specifically saved for the ice cream man.
I recall one man saying that his Dad had told his five kids that when the ice cream truck was playing music, it was telling people he was out of ice cream so there was no need to go running out there. Well played, Dad.
He probably saved a big chunk of cash over the summer.
When I get to the truck, I see his display of popsicles, revels, fudgsicles, cones and ice cream sandwiches. I have always been partial to revels even though I often end up with a flake of chocolate on my shirt.
“Three revels, please,” I ask and take a five dollar bill out of my wallet. The man opens his freezer and pulls out three revels, considerably smaller than I remember and says.
“Twelve dollars please.”
I look at the fiver in my hand and some options quickly form in my mind. Natasha and Ken don’t know I’m buying them a revel, so I don’t really have to. I could just buy one, find some shade and finish before I got back to the table. I could protest loudly about the outrageous cost of ice cream and walk away.
Or, remembering that it’s the thought that counts, I could just carry on as planned.
I take another $10 from wallet, knowing I’m cutting deeply into my net profit for the day, and take the revels back, where they are received with great fanfare and many thanks. I don’t mention the cost or share my observation that I’m surprised ice cream is not sold from Brinks’ armoured cars these days.
Packages are smaller, prices are higher and we old timers shake our heads, thinking about the father of five kids standing at the end of the driveway today with $20 in his hand.
But the one thing that will never change is the smile on someone’s face when you give them an ice cream treat on a hot day. That’s priceless.
At least that’s what McGregor says.