Sunday, April 22, 2012


"Good Humor ice cream!  Cold soda, yogurt, froze fruit, candy and bubblegum!  Good Humor! Over 80 different kinds of ice cream!"  Then the bells again and then, "COME AND GET IT!!!"

I have no idea what his name was, where he was from or where he is now, but the "Good Humor Man" is probably one of my favorite childhood memories.  I had the privilege of spending my summers on Long Beach Island (that would be the Jersey Shore) and I don't remember a year without the familiar sound of the bell and the voice.

The shore would be littered with brightly colored umbrellas and hard working folks from the tri-state area and beyond who were looking for a little break from monotony of their everyday.  The ice cream men would come throughout the day and ring their bells from the top of the street.  Most of them carried a bell that was made up of many bells and they had a more annoying chattering sound when shaken.  Some of them would holler at the sandy folks and others would simply expect their bells to do the work for them.  Not him.

He was much older, and weathered.  The white hair that he had made a ring around his head leaving the top at the mercy of the sun.  I don't remember him having any facial hair, maybe a mustache.  Never clean shaven.  He wore a white ribbed tank top and cut off blue jean shorts.  His socks would pull up to mid shin and his loafers kept his feet safe from the sun warmed sand. He carried a cigar in one hand and the bell in the other.  You could hear him walking from the road.  He carried one bell.  Similar to the kind in a hand bell choir, but one that worked much harder...or was harder worked rather.  As he found his footing in the sand the bell would ring in time with his steps.  We all knew it was him.  You could heads look up and toward the street, checking, was this the guy?  Then he'd begin ringing it....ring a ding a ding a ding a...then the mantra, "Good Humor ice cream!  Cold soda yogurt, froze fruit, candy and bubblegum!  Good Humor! Over eighty different kinds of ice cream!" Then there would be a ringing interlude, if you will, and then, "COME AND GET IT!"  Boy would we.  We'd all grab our dollars with our sea wet hands and scramble to get in line for what seemed to be the best ice cream ever!

As you approached the truck you could hear him talking with all of the kids that had rallied around to choose their memory.  Mine?  A snowcone.  Almost every time.  It seemed to last the longest.  He'd say things like, "And for you sweetie?"  He had a heavy accent, one that was so wonderful to me.  It was rough and gentle.  Spending my school months in GA made me enjoy listening to accents that didn't start with "y'all."  He was kind...he was the Good Humor man. 

Our school year just finished and for the end of the year "party" we decided to have an ice cream man come to the church where we meet (my kids are homeschooled, it was the last day of Classical Conversations or homeschooling group that we meet with once a week).  We didn't tell the kids and they went nuts!  Imagine getting to "order" what you want from the ice cream man.  This man looked nothing like my "man" but he was good...and we all recounted our ice cream truck memories.  This made me think of another call to "COME AND GET IT!" that is found in Isaiah 55
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor."

Everytime I hear this verse I think of those scattering and scampering up to that truck.  Buzzing with excitement.  We waited on him.  We recognized his voice.  We wanted what he was selling.

Are you thirsty?  Are you broke and hungry?  I want to invite you to come and drink of the water that will satisfy.  Come, buy and eat...that your soul may live.  Jesus is certainly more precious and valuable than any ice cream man, but this summer when you hear the music and your kids start clammoring for his wares...indulge them and then while their smiles are fresh and they are dripping with memories...share this with them.  The One who calls us out of our poverty and into His splendor...satisfying us to the end of the age with His unfailing love.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

A New Language

When people find out that our son is taking a Latin class, they inevitably ask, "Why Latin?" It is a very common question, and doesn't bother us, but we always answer the same, "Because Latin is the foundation for practically every other language." Anson even asked one time why he was taking a Latin class. He came to the conclusion that he could be a missionary to "Latin America!" Now that is just plain funny!

Where I am not taking a Latin class, I am learning a foreign language. It's a language of Empires and Storm Troopers. It's a language of long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Guess what it is? Star Wars!!! Lego has been kind enough to develop building sets and websites for movies that make boys crazy! For a few years he's been building Y-wing fighters and collecting Anakin minifigures. It was probably a few months ago he was showing me a "Boba Fatt" guy and some weird talking alien and I thought, "I can't understand a word coming out of his mouth. I've got to get this language." So, I told Mike I needed to be trained. I would be his "Padawan." If you will.

We started small. Mike decided that Anson would watch the movies in chronological order, not the order that the movies were made. For those of you who don't know, the old movies (the ones that came out when we were kids) are actually the last 3 installments. The new movies (that came out at the end of the 90's and early 2000's) are of the see who Darth Vader is and why he chose the Dark Side of The Force. So, that's where we started. Mike was going to watch these first, and then decide when and if Anson could watch them. That was fine with me. Until I couldn't talk to my boy. So, we watched the first one about a month ago. I enjoyed it, but wasn't crazy about it. Then a night or two later, we watched the second one and I took notes! A few of my notes, "Anakin has a lot of potential, but it's not harnessed. He is unwise. Why is Queen Amidala now a senator? Is Dooku a bad guy? Anger and fear lead to the Dark Side." Anson was quite impressed. I enjoyed the second one. So, then we were up for the third one. Anson will not be watching this one, and I will say of the 4 I've seen so far, this is the hardest to watch. It broke my heart. So much evil was present and almost all of it was for personal gain. So, last night we finished the 4th (we started it a few nights ago and I fell asleep). I enjoyed it and look forward to watching the 5th soon. So, why?

We request that our children listen to us. We request (demand) that they do what we say and do it sooner than later. When they are younger it's all about training and then when they get older, something happens. They develop interests that we may or may not care about. We enjoy the time alone while they are lost in their world for hours at a time and count ourselves lucky. Then, they grow up a bit more and they don't want to talk to us about those things that really matter. How did that happen? We were doing so well. There was peace and everyone was happy. Right? I think we lose our kids when we check out on those things that interest them. We have to earn the right to speak into their lives. They don't just hand that over. I'm watching Star Wars and talking about light sabers and siths because I want to talk about dating and marriage. I'm re-watching pod-races because I want to talk about finances. I'm going somewhere with this. It's not because I want to know why Lego has priced the Death Star at $139.00 (although that does interest me) it's that when there are matters of life and death, I want to be able to reach my son. The only way he's going to care about what I have to say later, is if I care about what he has to say now.

It's no small task raising children. We must be vigilant and engaged. We must do what it takes, no matter what that might be in order to stay involved in the lives of our children. The Dark Side beckons...may the Force be with us.