Maybe If We Paint It Green

A vintage ice cream truck

A vintage ice cream truck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great joys of childhood is the ice cream truck‘s arrival in the neighborhood.

Today’s ice cream truck doesn’t look like the one I remember. The truck sounds different too, tinkling bells replaced by a public address system playing a repetitive song on a loop. There is something about the arrival of the ice cream truck that hasn’t changed.

When I was a boy, the call that signaled that happiness on wheels was entering the neighborhood is the same as it is today. The sound of the ice cream truck creates a biological reaction in the first child in each play group to hear it. That reaction causes that boy or girl to drop what they are doing, throw their head back and yell “Ice Cream MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

Truck Load Of Joy For Sale

It is January, still cold and gray. Scraps of last week’s snow sit on the ice cream truck on the used car lot. I see the truck every day. No one is buying ice cream trucks in the snow. Sometimes, I think about letting out an ice cream man yell to make us both feel better about the weather.

Actually, I think about yelling to make us both feel better about the truck’s fate and to remember the joy it used to bring.

What if that ice cream truck could make a come back? What if that truck could bring back the joy that we outgrew when we stopped being kids?


Imagine a warm summer afternoon. You’re outside doing yard work. Your neighbor is painting her front porch. The snooty guy across the street tends his prize rose bushes. The sun batters all three of you.

As you push the mower across the lawn again you see the neighbor cock her head as if to listen a little closer. You’ve seen that look before and turn off the mower, anticipating what is coming. Both of you listen hard, trying to confirm that you really are hearing what you think you do.

Broke down ice cream truck

Potential (Image by expatriotact via Flickr)

A scrap of music reaches the neighbors ear. She drops her brush in the paint bucket, throws her head back and yells “Margarita Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” She’s running for her front door by the time she gets to the last syllable of maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Mr. Snooty’s door is already closing behind him as he runs to get his money before the truck reaches your block.

By the time you bolt from your house with your money, Snooty has the truck stopped and your neighbor is behind him in line, clutching her money in a paint smeared fist. You dash out and join the line. Snooty is at the front of the line, trying to decide what to ask for. He always takes so long!

Finally he calls out, “I’ll have one, frozen, with salt on the rim” the Margarita Man asks for his money, then shakes his head. “Sorry, son, you don’t have enough” he tells Snooty. Snooty walks away dejected.

The neighbor orders a margarita on the rocks, no salt, then retreats to the shade of her porch.  You order the same, get your glass and head for the porch.

Spreading Joy

As you walk from the truck, you pass Snooty, pause, and hand him some of your change. He runs to the truck, gets his margarita and joins you on the porch. Everyone sits and laughs together as they cool off. The music comes on. The truck heads off to deliver joy further into the neighborhood.

Remember when joy came into our neighborhoods in a white truck? Remember the times that the truck made you so happy you were generous to someone who you weren’t such great friends with? Remember when generosity came when you weren’t looking for it?

Maybe the Margarita Truck will come for us. Maybe it will not. Maybe we should watch and learn from what we see the kids do this summer.

I think they’re asking $4000 for that ice cream truck. It couldn’t cost that much more to paint it lime green and buy blenders.


55 Comments on “Maybe If We Paint It Green”

  1. We found him Captain!! says:

    This is a great idea and a wonderful story. Can this truck be fixed up to sell little Dixie cups filled with peas & macaroni? Are looking for a partner?

  2. Hippie Cahier says:

    You may have come up with the key to world peace.

    You know I loves me some Buffett, but I’ve often thought that, played in sufficient consecutive succession, “Margaritaville” could qualify as a Noriega song.

    If you expanded your product offering and your delivery worldwide, not only would the Margarita Man bring a much-needed buzz to the suburban population, the trucks could cruise the neighborhoods of world dictators, playing “Margaritaville” and “The Pina Colada Song.”

    I’m lookin’ at you, Kim Jong Il.

    • omawarisan says:

      I’ve been to 12 million Buffett shows, that is the song I leave to go grab refreshments during.

      The Pina Colada song? That thing is against the Geneva Convention you savage! 😉

  3. Betty says:

    Oooh, LOVE the idea of a Margarita man! After I went off to college, I heard that the ice cream man who used to serve our neighborhood was busted for selling pot out of the truck. We never knew that at the time. Maybe he just ran out by the time he got to our road.

  4. Blond Stranger says:

    I would so totally vote for you as Emperor of the World……….

  5. Wendi says:

    The Margarita Truck reminds me of a very popular bar that basically sold high octane slurpees. Ah, the good old days. My liver and I remember them fondly.

  6. The ice cream truck in my neighborhood sounds creepy. I’m sure the guy kidnaps kids.

    A margarita truck would be so awesome. I’d chase that thing for miles…even if it meant I was running toward my own demise.

  7. Zahara says:

    This sounds like the makings of a new policy for the administration. An ice cream/Margarita truck in every neighborhood.

  8. Kim Pugliano says:

    Although I like a margarita with silver Patron, I would prefer a mojito. Please make a note of that.

  9. madtante says:

    Allergic to agave, I’d have to pass, but I love the idea. I’ve said for YEARS that they should have a combo Xanax and drink (adult) trolley pass through theartdept (and others, I’m not stingy) at some point through the day. Gives you something to look forward to, even if you have to shell out for it.

  10. Horsedonkeymulezebra says:

    I think the police department should buy iras an undercover vehicle. Park it by the side of the road and use it to catch speeders. You KNOW people will stop when pulled over by the ice cream man.

    And think of the positive PR when the officer hands the driver a ticket along with a bomb pop!

    Or for hostage situations… It’s a good way of drawing children away from the crime scene, and you just might find the hostage taker running out of the house when he hears the bells. (it’s usually not the brightest people who take hostages)

  11. Jane says:

    It’s settled. You are a genius.

  12. educlaytion says:

    I love reading something that should be absurd but actually could work. Don’t forget the jello shots in solo cups.

  13. How about a red wine truck? I’d like a lovely glass of Shiraz please…


  14. Katybeth says:

    This idea Rocks! Really the possibilities are endless. It could cut down on drinking and driving….Sponsored by local bars, and if the truck came upon a block party—Bonanza! Perhaps your blimp could scout out local area outside gatherings and radio down to the truck. Pool party on Henderson street….B-Q on 8th…

    Wait. Wait. You could call it The BOOZEMOBILE!

  15. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Oh, man, I sure wanna be wearing a hawaiian shirt right now and sipping on a margarita. Love your idea! Let’s also talk the kids who run the lemonade stands into adding a little vodka to their beverage. Ahh, summer.

    • omawarisan says:

      You should just put one on. It just works when it is cold out when you put it on over a sweatshirt or thermals. Sure, people look at you funny for a sec, but then they kind of like it.

  16. Todd Pack says:

    I can’t think of any reason why this wouldn’t work, except maybe a law against selling alcoholic beverages out of a truck.

  17. June B. Stewart says:

    Another brilliant idea!!!!! How soon can you stock the truck & get to FL? I’m standing on the corner with money in hand right now.

  18. This is the best idea EVER! Can the truck have a parrot? Can we teach it to say things like, a la Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, “No Margarita for you!” when Snooty people approach? Or if people don’t have enough money, “What does this look like to you? An ice cream truck?!”

  19. Oma, you are truely a genius.
    A Margarita-mobile, I’m so enamoured by the idea I’m simply speechless. (wipes a tear away at the beauty contained in this idea)

  20. pattypunker says:

    margarita snow cones! the possibilities are endless. bravo!

  21. maggie says:

    as fun as a margarita man would be… at the end of the day my heart always belongs to ice cream.

    i live din a neighbourhood in Guelph where a truck would come by regularly, playing the jingly song, making us all believe the ice cream man was coming… but the along comes a truck not with an ice cream cone on the top, but a pair of scissors. it was a travelling knife sharpener. and in the 3 years i lived in that house, i never stopped hoping one time it might actually be the ice cream man instead… ;P

    • Betty says:

      I need to move to Guelph. I’d love to see a traveling knife sharpener.

    • If you’re talking about the Guelph I think you are, there must be something about that southern Ontario water…I definitely would prefer the ice cream man over margarita man any day. Unless it was pina colada man…then I MIGHT reconsider.

      In those last summer I was still in Kitchener, I recall there were ice cream bike wagons…I can’t remember the name of the company, but they used to have a bike with an ice cream chest attached to the front. They didn’t have the music, but instead would ring the bike bell to let everyone know they were coming. That was the best on a hot day when you least expected it…

  22. planetross says:

    In Japan the yaki imo truck cruises the neighbourhood at night in the colder months selling grilled sweet potatoes, but the only thing cool about that is watching him drive around with an open fire in the back of the truck.

  23. spencercourt says:

    IN the Philippines, the “ice cream truck” worked differently. We called Magnolia (the only ice cream firm) and ordered whatever ice cream we wanted. Typically, it was a two gallon tin of Rocky Road. They delivered to the house and we gave them back the tin from the last order. I easily went through two gallons in two weeks. The best part, of course, is that the parents paid for it!

  24. Abe's Blog says:

    I love the description of the neighbors listening for the Margarita Man. Excellent.
    And as for the slight problem of the Po-po–perhaps you could replace the motor in this truck with a chevy 454 with a turbo 400 tranny, dual pipes, and just make a run for it!

  25. […] I didn’t write anything new for today, so I’m pointing you back to an older post about bringing an old ice cream truck back to life. […]

  26. robincoyle says:

    BRILLIANT idea. I wish I thought of it.

    P.S. Our ice cream man’s truck plays a tinny version of “The Entertainer” is such a way that the annoying song it stuck in your head for days.

    • omawarisan says:

      Investors welcome!

      Our ice cream truck plays that too, but at the end of the song there is more. There’s an electronic sound that sounds like guk guk guk and then it says “hello?” before Joplin starts again.

So, what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s