Thursday, May 5, 2011

Morris


His fingers, yes there was something so beautiful about his fingers.
They were the longest and most gentle fingers you have ever seen.

And he stood like a giant too.
He had legs that just seemed to go on forever, and arms that could reach as far as the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oh, his uniform, let me tell you about his uniform. It was always the brightest of white you know, and clean as a whistle. He also wore a little white hat too, it looked something like a ship captains hat.

And with long nicotine stained fingers as cold as ice and as yellow as corn, Morris would gently pick the change out of the palm of your hand and then lean down and give you your ice cream bar.

Yeah, just like the giant in “Gulliver’s Travels”, that was Morris.

I think he also wore one of those change machines on his belt too, it was silver and had these different cylinders for pennies, nickels, quarters and dimes.

You see,
Morris was our ice cream man.
Not anyone else’s ice cream man.
No, just ours alone.

The bells on his truck had a very distinctive ring too. They jingled like those on Santa’s sleigh. Full of music, full of life. Nothing at all like the cheap sound of the Good Humor man. No, Morris’s bells were probably made of sterling silver instead of tin.

And what made Morris special to us was his kindness. Pure gentle kindness from a man who probably would have scared the living daylights out of anyone if he wasn’t dressed in an ice cream
man’s uniform.

You see Morris had to stand about six feet five, was as skinny as a flagpole and chain-smoked to no end. From what I remember too, he smoked the same brand as my dad. That distinctive “Camel” could always be seen sticking out of his shirt pocket.

And Morris also died young, just like my dad. Too many “Camels” bought him a headstone way before his time, and only left us with a nasty Good Humor man who never liked us.

Yeah, I could just see him like it was yesterday, his truck parked on Avenue C between East 3rd and East 4th, long tall and lean standing there like a gentle giant. Waiting for us hand him our dimes and quarters after another day at PS 179.

And if you didn’t have enough money, Morris would let you slide and pay him another day. Or he would even break an ice pop in two pieces, if you only had a nickel. Just the gentle kindness of a man who drove an ice cream truck and knew all our names.

Yes, The ice cream man of Kensington.
Not anyone else’s ice cream man.
No, just ours alone.

Ron Lopez

2 comments:

Nick said...

Ron, how well I remember Morris. Our summer playground was East 5th between Avenue C and Beverly Road. Morris would always come in the mid-afternoon hours and park his truck at the first driveway after the Ave. C apartment building in which I lived, and we would interrupt our punchball game for a chocolate pop or Italian Ice, and yeah, he always wore that shiny metal coin belt. Great memories as always!
Nick

Anonymous said...

Wow, this post brings back a lot of warm weather memories from the neighborhood! Morris also remembered what ice cream you liked. I always wondered what he did in the Winter? I wondered if he went to Florida and sold ice cream to children there.