Just as I sat down to write this I heard the familiar sound of an ice-cream truck.
I was actually going to write about something else, but now I am going to write about the ice-cream man. Actually, not really about the ice-cream man, but more about what he represents. Summer, swimming, hide and seek, kick-ball, bike riding, fresh cut grass, shady trees, the 4th of July…SECURITY.
As I was growing up, none of the kids on my block had a home life that compared to
“Leave it to Beaver.” But idiosyncrasies really weren’t that big of a deal back then. For example, the lady down the street cleaned her entire house every day. Her five kids weren’t allowed to play until they had completed the exact same chore which they had performed the day before. My mother, on the other hand, got up and went to 6:30 Mass. Then she came home and fixed us all a big breakfast of bacon and eggs (everyday!). After that she booted all five of us out the door, locked it and didn’t unlock it until right before dinner. It wasn’t anything personal, mind you; she just wanted her peace and quiet. In truth, we didn’t really mind this routine. We had a park at one end of the block and a pool at the other. Plus, she kept the refrigerator in the garage stocked with food, and we always had enough money for the ice cream man. So, life was good…
So good that 50 years later, the sound of an ice-cream truck brings me right back to my mother’s schedule. She wasn’t that complicated, she didn’t wear fancy clothes, she didn’t necessarily fix fancy meals. In fact, one summer she shared a side of beef with the same lady who cleaned her entire house every day. That summer, we had steak, baked potatoes and salad every night for dinner. It sounds great today, but we had it every night.
It must have been her simplicity that made me feel secure. It reminds me of that quote from St. Edith Stein, “The nation…doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”