Archive for Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crowd laments over forgotten ice cream

June 30, 2011

Community band concert and ice cream social every Thursday evening in the summer starting at 8:30.

Most people arrive by 8 and start putting up their lawn chairs, while a volunteer group sets up the ice cream, cakes, pies, soft drinks and water on the knoll.

It’s a ritual. We depend on it. Arrive, set up your lawn chair. God forbid you should get in someone’s spot. Greet a few folks, then straggle up the brick walk to the table where the ice cream and cakes are set out. Peruse the cakes, pies, ice cream. Make a selection. Pay a small sum of usually a dollar, pick up a bottle of water and go back to your seat.

It was an odd experience to arrive at 8 and find no tablecloths, no ice cream and no cakes. Well, the general opinion was that someone was just late in getting started. There was clearly a void in the weekly ritual. In truth, someone forgot.

I sat in my KU canvas chair and watched people careen around the sidewalk, get halfway up the hill and skid to a stop. There were a variety of comments: “What, no food? I haven’t even had summer. Is this a joke or what? No water? Well, I’ll have to go to the Dollar General and buy a bottle of water. I had my mouth set for ice cream, where is it?”

People milled around, stunned by the absence of the food. One person passed by and muttered, “I invited my neighbors to an ice cream social. What am I supposed to do?”

One brave man trekked down to Dairy Queen and brought back ice cream for himself and his wife. Given that there were 150 hungry and desperate people in the crowd, I couldn’t decide if he was courageous or stupid. I mean, what if people had stampeded and taken his ice cream away? Well, perhaps we are a bit more civilized than that.

Another concert goer and I tried to decide if we could lug enough boxes of Dilly Bars up the hill to pass out to the crowd; decided we weren’t up to the task. We had the thought, but the deed went undone in this case.

The concert itself went off splendidly, as it always does. There is a lot of heart in that group of musicians and the two co-directors. The evening sky burned from bright orange to somber tones of blue and grey. The wind whipped the flags above the pagoda. The cry of nighthawks in the sky overhead broke the stillness when the band wasn’t playing.

It was an evening filled with graces, as it always is.

There was a recurring murmur: “Who in the wide world forgot the ice cream?”

The First Christian Church has it this week. Trust me, they will not forget! Come, bring your lawn chair and stay for the fireworks afterward. Happy July 4th!

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