Categorized | Opinion

I’m watching ’cause I know he is on his way!

By Otis GriffinOtis Griffin pose

I remember as a young gully jumper standing in the front yard waiting for our ice deliveries.  It was so hot the steam was coming up off the blacktop and tar bubbles were popping.  Some of my friends would comment, “I’ll be glad when the iceman gets here and we can cool off.”  Very few folks can recall what it was like, not to have a refrigerator.  Sumpin’ else we take for granted.
Not so, back ’en.  Just think.  No ice and tea was hot, your butter would melt, milk would get a little warm and out to the hog trough we had to trot.  Of course, Porky the Pig would laugh and sing, the kitty cats would drool, thankful for the problem.
Depending if we were going to have some company that weekend dictated how much ice was desired.  Sunday afternoons were always a ritual after church, for visiting neighbors and friends.
There was no repeating gossip or stretching the truth.  Yeah right!   Only told one time, and it had better be correct.  A whole lot of eating, talking, studying the various situations and making all kinds of decisions out under the maple shade trees in the front yard.  But I don’t think much of this intellectual prowess was carried over to Monday.  But it was interesting listening to the ideas.
I don’t reckon folks visit under the trees as decades ago.  With all the tongue wagging taking place, a slop bucket of sweet ice tea was consumed.   The mouth would get dry and possibly pucker up like sucking on a green persimmon, making the high powered decisions.  I’m sure many heads ached from soaking up all that wisdom.
Neighbor, our homemade ice cream was the best you ever hung a tooth in, bar none.
Many times flavored with home grown peaches, apples, pears or any kind of fruit.  Southern Country folks just know how to cook and eat.  I’d have to clean up the old hand cranked ice cream maker getting ready ——-for company is a comin’.—I’d draw some cool, well water and fill our washtub, strategically located in the middle of the back yard.  The cylinder holding the cream had to shine, and the metal bands encompassing the staves that formed the wooden bucket had to be scoured. Usually, salt from the previous mixing would rust the bands.
Momma would perfectly chip ice to fit in the bucket around the hand cranked maker.
Friends, we had to make sure the truck ran on schedule if we were going to show off after church.  We didn’t want to get embarrassed on Sunday afternoons with no homemade ice cream.
I was ‘self appointed’ to stand at the edge of the yard, but Momma made sure I didn’t fall out on the blacktop.  I could have gotten dismantled by heavy traffic, of possibly seven to ten fast moving vehicles each day.  Yep, the speed limit was supposedly thirty miles an hour in our community.  That was the final decision theme at Mr. Ben’s emporium, however there were no road signs available to verify this constitutional law.  Maybe Mr. Bright and Mr. Harber dictated this safe speed?
Now our ice man didn’t set any records delivering our ice.  I didn’t know it at the time, but informed years later, the vehicle was a ton and one-half International with hill-high sideboards, always loaded to the brim.  Covered by a tarpaulin, setting on a sawdust floor-board, not much ice melted from Bolton to the huge, bulging Metropolis of Rosemark.
With the big truck usually stopping at each house you could gaze for a country mile and see youngsters leaning out of the Bermuda covered yards, holding the big signs dictating the required amount.  Finally, Momma allowed me to hold the money for payment.  Boy, I thought I was the cat’s meow!  Either two-bits or four-bits.  I’m sure I clutched the metal so tightly, I probably choked old George and his tongue wagged, but I didn’t lose my money!
Friends, back ’en our area was notorious for the Rolling Store, Watkins Man, Fuller Brush Man , The Stanley Man and the ice man.  But none more important in the sultry, hot, humid days of summer, than our beloved, “here comes the ice man!”  I can’t say what is right or wrong, but that’s just the way it was.
If You Love the “ICY” South Say —GLORY!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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