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Chuck Brooks: Summer should put you in Good Humor

Memorial Day came and went; the Fourth of July is behind us; all that remains now is Labor Day before we say goodbye to summer and hello to those other seasons now visible in the distance. However, with seven complete weeks before all that begins, let's not give up on summer!

When I was in my pre-teen years, I loved watching comedies on TV. Most were black and white. One of them was titled "The Good Humor Man." If you don't know what Good Humor was, you may have a difficult time relating this week.

The movie's main character was the Good Humor man, and he sold ice cream out of his Good Humor truck. He accidentally gets involved with some criminals and there's an exhausting chase scene that finishes the story. I loved chase scenes.

I also loved the guy in our town who drove around all summer long—morning, noon and night—selling ice cream bars and popsicles and push-ups and whatever other ice cream products existed in the sixties.

Do you remember having someone similar in your town when you were growing up? What ever happened to those ice cream sellers of summer?

I can't speak for all the little towns in America, and perhaps there's a man or woman in smaller communities who make a living off selling cold treats to kids during their summer vacation days, but I know I don't see such a person here in Apple Valley. Or the other southern suburbs. I am thinking, perhaps, they don't exist any longer. And that seems to me to be such a shame.

That familiar tune

I remember being outside playing with friends, anywhere with friends, and suddenly everyone would stop what they were doing because there was a familiar sound in the distance. "It's the Ice Cream Man!" someone would scream. The fuse was lit. Everyone scrambled to their homes to quickly hit up Mom or Dad for a handful of change so they could get a chilly treat to cool down their day, if for only a few minutes.

My favorite was always the fudgesicle. Lordy, how I loved a fudgesicle. On hot days, the fudgesicles began dripping before barely getting them out of their paper encasement. And that was even yummier!

As a kid, of course, we were often attentive to the strangest things that adults merely took for granted. I remember our ice cream seller had one of those metal changers filled with quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies on his waist. If any of us were lucky enough to actually have a dollar, he'd give them change from this device. I always thought it was so cool how he could quickly press the levers and manipulate the coins dropping from their various slots. I, however, rarely gave him a dollar. He'd even change a quarter if the treat cost 10 or 15 cents.

It wasn't unusual to see kids chasing the truck down the street because they couldn't get the money quickly enough while he was in the street in front of their homes. Adults bought from the Ice Cream Man as well. Adults enjoyed their ice cream delicacies just as much as their children did.

It was a funny thing ... you could have any number of these same exact treats in the freezer in your kitchen, but they were never as much fun to eat as if you stood in front of the window opening of the ice cream truck and bought it from the official Ice Cream Man. Nope. That familiar tune coming down the street stirred the hearts of so many kids back in the day. It's definitely a fond memory.

Homemade treat

One summer treat the Ice Cream Man had no answer for were Mom's homemade popsicles.

It was sort of like an ice cube tray, only a little more elaborate. I believe ours was a six-container tray. There was the tray and then the "popsicle" holder, which itself was a two-part item. You had the actual cup and then the stick and lid that was one piece.

Mom would pour the Kool-Aid into the six cups and then snap the six lids, complete with the plastic sticks, on top. We could barely wait for them to freeze, so we could take one out, pull the stick out of the cup and lick away! Once we saw how easy they were to make, we didn't need to bother Mom any longer. I came across a picture of the tray and cups of which I speak, and my memories came rushing back. It's hard to compete with a treasure trove of happy childhood recollections of summer. There simply was no better time.

And since we're in summer mode here, you do realize we're on the precipice of yet another Leprechaun Days Week beginning, yes? All sorts of fun this coming week in Rosemount, and I'll be announcing the parade again on the 28th as well as vingo afterward.

Hmmm. I wonder what I'll be writing about next week. Hmmm .. I wonder ... .