Tuesday, March 17, 2009



It's apparently already that time of year in Atlanta -- the fleet of ice cream trucks is out in full force with the onset of 70-degree afternoons. Now that I'm living within a half-mile of Atlanta's largest park and just a couple blocks from the neighborhood middle school, the ice cream man is a virtually inescapable part of my day. I can hear the doppler-distorted chimes as the truck loops around behind the school, across my short street, and back out to the wide avenue full of joggers, dog-walkers and teenage kids. Amazingly, I have not yet rushed out into the street to chase it down. It's only a matter of time.

The ice cream trucks I've seen through downtown, midtown and my neighborhood, Virginia-Highland, seem to be the same, standard-issue vans I recall from my childhood, but with one key difference: the music. For whatever reason, the ice cream man assigned to my area blares not "Pop goes the weasel" or "The Entertainer," but Beethoven's ubiquitous "Für Elise." Because everything is tastier in A minor?

This bizarre choice of music cast my mind back to my college days at Northwestern, especially those spent living in Allison Hall on University Place, one of the local ice cream trucks favorite cul-de-sacs to cruise. To my surprise, I couldn't recall the ditty that truck played, though I did remember cursing the ice cream man on many occasions when his awful (but cheerful) tune hit my ears. All I could think of was "Pop goes the weasel" and "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" -- I knew it was neither but suspected a combination of the two. After a bit of internet recon, I found what I was looking for: "Turkey in the straw." (Better known to me, and countless former girl scouts and summer-campers, as "Do your ears hang low?") It would have bugged me for days if I hadn't figured it out, though maybe not as much as the song itself promises to now that I've remembered it...

And now, because I can't blog about the ice cream man without including it, I give you this timeless clip from Eddie Murphy:

1 comment:

Victory Bird said...

OMG I saw that ice cream truck too!!! The Fur Elise was totally creeping me out though. But I think our friendly neighborhood ice cream man has wised up, I heard him playing a different song along Ponce this week. I can't wait for it to be warm enough to get something from him!