Ding ding!

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Memorial day weekend celebration cut short.

Submitted: May 07, 2019

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Submitted: May 07, 2019

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Ding ding, Ding ding

What’s that noise?  It sounds familiar, wow, I almost forgot.  Has it been that long?  It must have been a long winter.  It’s the Ice Cream Man, driving up the road ringing the bell on his truck to attract customers.  I wonder if it’s the same one.

If it is, I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten me or Bug, my brother in law. Nobody is that dumb.

Many years ago Bug and I went to go do a repair job early one Saturday morning.  It was a spring holiday, maybe Memorial Day or something.  We wanted to get our job done early.  Our plans were to finish up get paid and go buy a watermelon, some hot dogs and cold drinks, maybe some chips for the kids and a slab of ribs for us adults.

We built a porch that morning.  It came out nice and square, level and centered with the door.  The steps and handrail were picture perfect.  As we built the porch we kept in mind to cut the lumber in such a way that we would have enough scraps left over to build a picnic table when we got home.

Our customer was very happy, we even got a tip.  Alright, now we have some drinking money.  We stopped on the way home at the Banner Food grocery store.  Our plan was to spend our pay on the goodies for our picnic.  I say that with a caveat because we planned on holding back our bonus money to buy a case or two of beer and ice, maybe even a jug.

We loaded up on everything to feed his family and mine, between us we had about nine kids, not to mention their neighborhood friends.

When we got home we put the cold drinks on ice, got the charcoal going in the grill and told the kids to go play while we built the picnic table in the back yard.  The back yard was accessible to the street that ran behind the house.  In the shade of a big old live oak tree, Bug and I started building our picnic table.  A holiday cookout just isn’t the same without a picnic table.Bug was eating sawdust, he was the cut man.  The only noise you could hear was the whining noise of the skill saw made as it cut its path down the chalk line.  Me, I was swinging that hammer, sinking 12 penny nails just as fast as Bug could cut the wood to fit.  If you ever built a picnic table, you don’t need a blueprint, kinda basic.

We were about 15 minutes into our job.  Our thinking was that just as soon as we finished building the table we would drive down to the ice house to buy the beer.  Having a cold beer in the cooler was just too tempting and were using an electric skill saw around kids.  That’s why we didn’t get the beer first.  We didn’t want to give our wives any cause to get on our case.

Then, there it was.  “Ding ding, Ding ding.”  As we looked up there at the back gate was parked an ice cream truck, with a swarm of kids buzzing like bees.  We both heard, “Daddy, Daddy buy us ice cream.”  So innocent, how do you ignore that?

Bug and I had been busting our can all morning to get this show on the road.  Our reward was the cold beer waiting for us at the end of the rainbow.  The pleas of the kids got to us though, we stopped what we were doing and strolled over to the ice cream truck thinking, “how much can a couple of popsicles be?”  No one wanted a popsicle though, it was all fudge sickles and ice cream cones or put up with the frowns and tears.  His six kids and my three made nine, plus a couple more rug rats that weren’t ours.  We couldn’t just get our kids a treat and ignore the others, so we did our best to make everyone happy.  Afterall, we still had that fifty dollar bonus in our pocket.  That stop cost us eighteen dollars.  After a little bit of quick math, we decided we could still buy a couple of cases of Old Milwaukee or two 12 packs of Michelob, with a dollar or two to spare.

We went back to work.  I was sweating bullets.  We were supposed to be enjoying ourselves.  It was time to get the party started.  We were almost finished with the picnic table.  It was still upside down while I was putting on the braces when we heard that same noise.  Here it came again, “Ding ding, Ding ding.”  Looking up I wanted to say, “Not again,” but yep, there it was, the same guy coming back for another run.  Looks like he just circled the block on us.

It the back of my mind I kept thinking, “This guy is playing with fire, he don’t know Bug.”  Just in case y’all don’t remember Bug, he was the guy that got busted on US 1 for fighting dogs at his house.  He had taken the second story floor out of the house to make an arena and a pit for dogfighting.  It was big business at the time.  Front page news back in ’67 or was it ’68?  Anyway, the police had to call in a bus to haul everyone to jail.  Over a hundred people went to jail that day.  The big bettor was  Howard Walker, his wife Louise, was a county judge.

Bug used to carry a pair of pliers in his back pocket to adjust the controls on the paint sprayer.  Once while we were sitting at the bar at the fish camp enjoying a cold one, that durn crazy Charley Workman came up drunk behind Bug and slapped him in the back of the head saying, “C’mon Bug, you ain’t so bad.”  I almost fell off my stool.  He was that bad.  This was before Junior Bullard’s day.  Bug was a man’s man. Just like Leroy Brown, you didn’t mess around with Bug.  Without getting up off of the stool, Bug backhanded Charley so hard that he fell backward out the front door.  When Bug got up to face him, Charley crawled up under a car to hide.  Bug reached under the car with one hand and grabbed Charley by the foot.  He reached into his back pocket with the other hand and grabbed his pliers.  Then he started pulling Charley’s toenails off with those pliers, one by one.  He got all five before he let Charley go.

Walking out to the road beside of Bug, I thought about all of this, kinda glancing over to see if he had anything in his back pocket. As we got to the road and approached the truck, my fears were for naught.  This time, there weren’t as many kids and we talked them into getting a popsicle.  The good news for us was the damage was only about eleven dollars.  No sweat, that still left us enough for two or three six packs of Budweiser.

Holidays can be rough on people, in more ways than one.  We flipped the table over and nailed on the “two bys,” for seats on both sides.  Voila, finished.  By this time the coals were ready for the hotdogs and the ribs.  We got my sister Glenda to watch the grill while we got in the truck to go to the ice house down the street for our beer and ice.

Bug has done a lot of dumb things in his life, but he wasn’t stupid.  Before we drove off, he parked the truck in the shade and waited.  It didn’t take long.  Pretty soon we could hear, “Ding ding, Ding ding,” from about two blocks away.  Bug drove down the street and flagged the ice cream truck down before he could get to us.  He got out of the truck and reached through the window of the ice cream truck.  He grabbed the driver by the ear with one hand and then pinched his nose with his forefingers in the other.  The driver was in pain and couldn’t move.  Bug had his full attention.  Bug told him, “Listen here, the first time you come by I spent eighteen damn dollars buying all the kids in the neighborhood a treat.  The second time, it cost me eleven dollars.  You must think I’m a sucker, but let me tell you this, the last time, was the last time.  Do you hear me?  It’s a holiday and you got most of our drinking money, you won’t get another dime.”

The next sound I heard was the four-barrel kicking in as that ice cream truck was getting on the on-ramp to the interstate.  I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure that can’t be the same guy.


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