Friday, June 09, 2006

Summer is Ready When You Are.

That line being from "Saints" by The Breeders, a favorite tune for cruising with the top down (or, at least, the windows down, never having owned a convertible). The ultimate summer song, however, jingled unceasingly from atop a white truck depicting a sweet, swirly-headed fella known as Mister Softee.

That jingle, I learned from a posting on the amusing website Long Island Oddities, is in E-flat major in 6/8 time, and was created by an advertising agency in 1960 for radio campaigns. Although the trucks play only the instrumental version, the tune has words:

The CREAM-i-est DREAM-i-est SOFT ice CREAM
you GET from MIS-ter SOF-tee
FOR a re-FRESH-ing de-LIGHT su-PREME
LOOK for MIS-ter SOF-tee

Now that brings back memories! Goddammit, I want me some Softee! Alas, I'd have to go to Las Vegas to find the nearest truck (which makes it the first and only entry on my list, "Reasons for Going to Las Vegas").

Actually, I think Circus-Man might have been my favorite, because they also sold neat crap like water pistols, sparklers, Wacky Packages and those black pellets you'd light on fire so they'd grow into snake-like ashes which stunk of burning rubber. (Exactly why that once struck me as so much fun kind of eludes me at the moment, and yet I can't deny wishing I had a packet of them right now.) Also, Circus-Man had those gingerbread and vanilla ice cream sandwiches, which were so good I once wrote a bad poem mentioning them, published in Report To Hell #3.

Something To Get My Fingers Around

the exhaust takes me to

another summer of end-

less light and the hot

fumes and a dollar forty-

five are a small price

to pay for two gingerbread

men, back-to-back upon

ice cream, and i smile

and wonder how i ever

got in this traffic jam

The poem is every bit as lousy as it was in 1993, but now I can publish it in the color of gingerbread! Technology makes everything better!

The Circus-Man push-up pops, another favorite, had plastic circus figures on the stick which were hidden in the sherbet until you ate it away. Like the snake pellets, these were also fun for no discernible reason. I'm sure I had a useless, sticky collection of them stashed away somewhere (somewhat similar to the stack of Playboys I procured during my teens, except those were frequently used, much stickier and stashed with the utmost care).

So, summer, I'm ready when you are, you sweaty, bewitching brute. Just don't dawdle--two months of you will be plenty. A camping trip or two, a few barbecues, maybe even some time spent swimming and lying in the sun at Sauvie Island (the clothing-mandatory section, of course--you're welcome), and then let's get back to breezy, overcast days that prematurely portend autumn. Ah, sweet autumn. Now that's a time of year I can get behind. Until then, a few beers and some catchy pop has its charms...


Blogger MO'SH said...

The only thing I miss more than the ice cream man was the scissor sharpener. I can recall him driving down my block only once, and even though this was over 25 years ago, I still remember thinking, "Scissor sharpening? What does this guy think it is -- 25 years ago?"

Mon Jun 12, 01:50:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Mick said...

My dad came home drunk one summer afternoon (oh, wait, about 330 summer afternoons...but I digress) and bought the whole block of kids ice cream from the Mister Softee truck with what was left of his paycheck from Friday night. My friends thought he was the coolest dad on the block...he was just the drunkest one on that particular day.

Wed Jun 14, 01:09:00 AM 2006  

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