Ice cream trucks are an interesting thing. As a mode of transportation they are, at the very least, unusual but on a hot summer day they are the greatest vehicle ever made. Any kid who has just finished a sweaty game of kickball complete with "do overs" is bound to jump at the chance to get their hands on a desert on a stick.
The ice cream truck was usually a disappointment in my neighborhood. Not enough kids and those that did live there seemed to spend way too much time inside playing Dungeons and Dragons. My house was just around the corner from a busy county road so I never got the advance warning most neighborhoods got. We would hear the truck play its calliope music about 10 seconds before it made the turn (or skipped us completely.)
Then I would run inside to a mother who just took to long getting the change out of her purse. Dejected, I would walk out to the front yard with a freezer pop to try to enjoy it with the other kids as they ate their designer ice cream bars (all except for the weird Chinese kid who always bought soda from the ice cream man because it was forbidden in his house. He's gay now.)
This process seemed to be repeated 3 or 4 times a summer until the year the deli opened.
God bless the deli.
Soon, my chums and I had a new ritual: riding our bikes to the deli.
The ride to the deli was an easy trip through a nearby neighborhood. We just had to remember two turns so we COULD do it on our own. We just rarely did.
The reason was because of the Chinese kid. He once made a trip on his own and couldn't find his way back. I assume he was soda drunk. He ended up coming home in tears. So the edict was that we had to ALWAYS had to travel in packs.
The deli was like a mini-Disneyland for us. For the small sum of our lawn mowing cash we could choose from a handful of delightful items: Slim Jims, larger Slim Jim knock offs that were pretty gross, Mad magazine, little bags of dinosaurs or army soldiers and ICE CREAM.
Because the way TO the deli was uphill, ice cream was the most popular choice to cool off after the short ride.
It was at the deli that I discovered the greatest ice cream ever.
The WWF Ice Cream Bar.
I was a big fan of wrestling, so the WWF bar was a good choice for that reason alone. Still, my repeat purchase came only because the ice cream was absolutely INCREDIBLE.
The ice cream bars were, as all good ice cream, on a stick. The ice cream was a super sweet extra sugary vanilla. This was dipped in chocolate and topped with a cookie featuring a photo of one of the WWF superstars of the day.
This was where the ice cream bar sometimes failed. After all, if you were a big fan of Hulk Hogan could you really be comfortable holding merchandise featuring his arch nemesis Andre the Giant? Or if you liked Hacksaw Jim Duggan, would it be O.K. to bite his head off? Plus, who wants to eat ANYTHING that looks like Hacksaw Jim Duggan?
All these problems took a backseat to pure ice cream goodness.
Inside the package each bar contained a special trading card. Sure, it was just a flap of the box that they typed "trading card" on it, but that didn't stop us from collecting them. Or swapping our prized baseball cards just to get more.
If you are wondering, the ice cream bars still exist, now under the "WWE" banner. Still, they seemed to taste better before when they featured The Honky Tonk Man. I don't know why.