Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion -On Ice Cream
by Paul Big Bear
I love ice cream, I can eat it all year round, I have tried many flavors but, vanilla remains my favorite. Why, you ask? I will share this with you; When I was a young boy (single digit age to ten) I, along with every other youngster my age and some older, couldn’t wait to hear the “cha ching” of the bicycle bells on Louie the Ice Cream Man’s truck. The truck similar to a milk delivery truck with the two sides and the rear open and an ice cream freezer box in the middle. Louie would stop and walk back into the rear of his truck as we lined up to buy a frozen treat. “I want a fudgesicle” “I want a twin pop cherry please” Could I have an orange creamsicle?” “I want a sandwich” “make mine a chocolate cone.” We each had our own favorite, mine, was vanilla ice cream on a stick covered in a hard coating of chocolate, I called it a cow. Louie carried Borden Ice Cream and my choice came in a white sleeve, like a pillowcase, that bore the words “Borden Ice Cream” with a picture in the corner of Elsie the Borden Cow. One day Louie came, and everyone made their purchase and Louie held out my Cow to me and I sadly said, “not today Louie”. Louie looked puzzled and asked “Why?” I explained that I didn’t have a nickel. That is when Louie did something that made a huge difference in my life, he handed me the ice cream and said “Here, you think you can pay me tomorrow?” I said sure. As I sat on the curb eating my summer treat, savoring each bite of vanilla ice cream and chocolate crunch blending in my mouth I started thinking about paying Louie. If I didn’t get that nickel, I wouldn’t ever be able to run to Louie’s truck again, I made up my mind I was going to get that money. I finished my “Cow” and set out searching the neighborhood for “pop” bottles, the empty bottles would bring me two cents apiece at the soda shop. I checked through trash set out to the curb, secretly hoping that I would find a quart beer bottle, they brought a nickel, I looked in the tall grass by the roadside until I found four pop bottles. I headed to the soda shop knowing I needed two nickels for tomorrow. I left the store with eight cents in my pocket, two cents short, what should I do? I went to the pharmacy to see Doc, he sometimes had chores he would pay you to do. He did, he had a prescription he wanted delivered, “Do you know where Green Street is?” “Yes sir” “He’s got the misery and he needs this medicine, I’ll give you the two cents to deliver it to him right away.” With ten cents in my pocket, I took off running. I knocked on the door and a man in his house coat and slippers, kind of bent over, opened the door and thanked me explaining his “Lumbago” had acted up.
The next day I lined up to pay Louie my debt and buy another “Cow”, again sitting on the curb eating my tasty treat I thought about how good it was. The next year Louie’s bells didn’t come ringing and we all wondered why, I heard my mother and several other mothers talking over afternoon tea and one commented “It’s so sad about Louie, he was such a nice man.” “Yes, and he worked hard on that truck, he supported his wife, paid for their house, and put two sons through college with his ice cream truck.” I was sad hearing that Louie had died. As the years went by, I realized how special that “Cow” on credit was, that money was hard earned, a nickel at a time and Louie trusted me with part of it. Louie was a friend and a very nice man who helped me learn a valuable lesson about trust, honesty, giving and keeping your word, and helping others. To this day I can’t pass up vanilla ice cream on a stick covered in a crisp coating of chocolate. There is only one Borden Ice cream store remaining, owned by Red Lerille and managed by his daughter Kackie, they have vowed to keep the original ice cream treat alive. I have a special addition to my bucket list, to one day visit that store, have myself a “Cow”, think of Louie, and hopefully share that special memory with the owners.