Ringing Bells, Pavlov’s Dog & Ice Cream

One afternoon I went out on my deck to water the plants when a bell ringing in the distance stopped me dead in my tracks. My taste buds watered. Visions appeared before my eyes; childhood memories of chocolate eclair bars, ice cream sandwiches and popsicles so cold they would make your teeth ache with a single bite.

Annoying-Mr-SofteeI paused, awed by the idea that as much as the world has evolved, one constant has remained; the ice cream truck. A dinosaur by today’s standards of thrilling kid things, yet a sound still capable of making me salivate like one of Pavlov’s puppies.


When I returned inside the house, all I could think about was the integral role a visit from Mr. Softie played in the summer months when I was in elementary school. After we’d spend hours in our above-the-ground swimming pool playing Marco Polo, making whirlpools, and floating on our backs while staring at the bright sun, we’d get out, dry off and wait for the Mr. Softie truck. He always arrived a little before 4 o’clock, just minutes before Dark Shadows came on TV. Shadows-AWe’d get our ice cream and huddle in the small den of my family’s small cape cod styled house, watching Barnabas Collins and a host of scary folks, all while we devoured the delicious soft serve before it could melt all over us.

The other day I was walking my dog. I passed a little boy who had moved into the neighborhood a few months ago. He ran over to pet the dog then said, “I’m waiting for the ice cream truck. He always comes now.”

I wished him luck getting his treat and headed home. In a world filled with change in every corner of our lives,  I found it comforting to know how it still matters to a kid that the ice cream truck visits his street.

Anything leave you feeling nostalgic? Was a visit from the ice cream truck part of your childhood memories?



23 responses to “Ringing Bells, Pavlov’s Dog & Ice Cream

  1. Absolutely! I remember it distinctly. And hadn’t thought about it in years! Thanks for this!

  2. We lived in the center of town so the ice cream man didn’t come. However, there was a store on Main Street that was half pharmacy half soda fountain and as little kids we would walk there, climb up on the stools and get our favorite ice cream soda. It’s long gone now, so sad.

    My kids however have ice cream man memories. They took swim lessons at Candlewood Lake a Lyn Deming Park. It was 3 weeks Mon-Thurs. I couldn’t afford ice cream for three kids every day for 3 weeks so me and all the other moms said they could ice cream on “T” days. Tues/Thurs. Of course they said but it’s Today and that starts with “T.” LOL They still talk about it when we go up to the lake on the boat and see the ice cream man. I love those memories of my kids when they were little too 🙂

  3. Hi Sharon The ice cream truck still comes to Meckauer Park when I’m walking Sadie over there.  Usually around lunch time if you want to go and I always think that kids will want ice cream instead of lunch…..Donna Shaw!

  4. We never had the ice cream truck in our little town. But we did have Barnabas Collins and Dark Shadows. Yum!

  5. You touched my favorites Sharon- eclair bars and Dark Shadows.
    Thanks for the memories-

  6. Oh my goodness, yes. The ice cream truck was a fixture. And now that I live on a lake, I was afraid I’d never hear the music again. Not true. We have a boat called the Ice Cream Float that comes into our cove just in time for an after dinner treat. Racing down the stair to wave the driver to the dock is a wonderful treat. Plus, he has Dove bars…

  7. My husband still gets excited when the ice cream truck rolls through our neighborhood!

  8. Definitely not a nostalgic memory: Don is convinced that driving an ice cream truck and having to listen to that awful music all day long would drive anyone insane. Every time he hears the bells, he says, “Here comes the serial killer.” Yikes!

    • Lol, well I’d agree with Don’s assessment. While I have fond memories of hearing the bells and getting my treat, driving it all day would be another matter. Now on that serial killer matter, my daughter said something similar 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Renee!

  9. The ice cream truck reminds me of running to catch up to it when my mom didn’t give me money fast enough and then looking at my money, then the prices and pondering my decision as fast as I could. It’s music which makes me feel nostalgic. The dancing, singing, hanging out with friends and family all seem to be related to music.

  10. OMG, yes!!! Mr. Softee would arrive on our block just as it was starting to get dark. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, in the neighborhood was waiting for him. We’d all had dinner and were ready for dessert. Chocolate milkshakes and pineapple parfaits were my two favorites. I want one so bad right now!! LOL! Thanks for the memory!

  11. The ice cream truck was definitely a big deal when I was growing up. My favorite treat was a Dreamsicle, which would probably make me gag if I tried to eat one now! But if I hear the jingle of an ice cream truck anytime soon, I’ll buy one and give it a try.

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