“You want that ice cream, kid?” The man smelled so bad that I tried to hold my breath, which didn’t work. I needed to lick my melting chocolate cone – two scoops – as fast as I could. It was at least 95 degrees, yet he had on a heavy sweater under a long, use-to-be tan, wool coat and laceless army boots. His only concession to the heat was no socks.
I nodded and moved a few steps away from his trembling hand and soil rich fingernails, which he had lifted in my direction. As I licked all around the cone, trying to keep pace with the drips, his head bobbed up and down in rhythm with mine. Finally, running a shaky finger across his lips, he turned and shuffled away, feet slipping in and out of the boots.
The ice cream had been my mother’s attempt to keep down my whining, as she dragged me all over town running errands. At ten years old, I believed I was old enough to stay home by myself for what she said would only be an hour or two (obviously an estimate). However that was not a belief she shared.
The dry cleaners was our first stop, followed by a “pop-in” at Reminisce Antiques, to see if they had anything interesting. (Actually that didn’t take long because when I started playing with a vintage train set, the owner became nervous). From there it was buttons at the fabric store, a return at the department store and fertilizer from the nursery.
“Are we almost done?” I asked, while trying not to lean back against the hot leather car seat.
“Just one more stop at the bank, honey.” She glanced at my face, read the storm warnings and suggested we get some ice cream first.
The ice cream parlor was deliciously cool and fairly empty. I don’t like feeling rushed by people behind me. Although I always get chocolate, I like to take my time and investigate the other flavors. Unfortunately my mother didn’t allow me that option this time
“The bank closes early on Saturday” she said, as she grabbed some napkins and hurried me out the door.
When we got there, however, she ran into a problem. Printed on the door, in large white letters, along with the branch hours and the no smoking sign was “NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED.” Chewing her lower lip, my mother glanced down at my liquefying cone. Coming to a quick decision, she moved me a few feet from the door, to directly in front of the plate glass window.
“Do not move! Stay right here where I can see you! I won’t be five minutes.” She waited for me to acknowledge her command and then disappeared inside.
So here I stood, fighting a losing battle with my ice cream, which had started to run down my arm in chocolate rivulets. Typically, my mother had forgotten to give me the napkins she grabbed in the ice cream parlor. As the smelly man walked off, I looked through the bank window, wondering if she could “see” me, like she wanted to. With her back towards me, head thrown back in laughter at something the teller said, I seriously doubted it. Five minutes, huh?
Bending over so the drippings landed on the ground, I did not see the dog until he was almost on top of me. Now, every boy wants a dog and I was no exception, having begged my parents unceasingly for a puppy. But my sudden visitor was a cross between a retriever and a T Rex. His owner stood chatting about ten feet away, loosely holding a retractable leash.
Panting heavily, bushy tail wagging, the dog had also decided ice cream was perfect for a hot day. Unlike “Army Boots,” however, he did not ask but simply lunged at me. Startled, I yelled and dropped the cone. Unfortunately for him, the leash was fully extended and his prize was just beyond his reach. Feeling the sudden jerk, his owner turned, saw what happened and, with an apologetic smile, reeled him in.
Frustrated and hot, I wiped my hands on my t-shirt and headed for the bank door, since I no longer had any forbidden FOOD. However, my mother walked out as I was about to enter.
She looked at me and started laughing. “You’re a real mess! C’mon, let’s go.” As we headed down the street she said, “See. I wasn’t that long, was I?”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.