The Ice Cream Jingle, a Narrative Poem

Updated on December 1, 2018
Mark Tulin profile image

Mark Tulin is an ex-therapist from Philadelphia who lives in California. He writes poetry about a variety of off-beat topics.

Food and Childhood Memories

I have a slew of food memories growing up in Pennsylvania. I loved eating Coney Island chili dogs with my Aunt Marion. My friends and I bought countless bags of soft pretzels from the street vendors in Philly. Those cheesesteaks with grilled onions were a favorite of mine when I watched a Sixers' game on my black and white TV. Every Sunday morning, I went with my father to the Jewish Deli to pick up some lean corn beef, bagels, and rye bread that felt sort of like a religious experience. But perhaps it was the soft serve ice cream truck and its jingle that elicits my fondest memories of childhood. Please enjoy The Ice Cream Jingle.

The Ice Cream Jingle, a Narrative Poem

It was the late 60s, a hot summer afternoon in Philly.
All the kids were huddled in my backyard pool
floating on a white walrus and shooting squirt guns,
swimming underwater like Jacques Cousteau.

As we splashed around in three feet of water
from a leaky garden hose,
we heard the jingle of an ice cream truck,
an alluring tinkle-tinkle driving down our city block.

“Here’s Mister Softee!” we all yelled in a sugary trance.
We leaped from the pool, pushing each other aside
for the last one there was a rotten egg,
hoping that the ice cream truck didn’t drive away.

Back then, we’d do anything for soft serve.
Loot our mother’s handbag.
Hijack a Brink’s truck.
Break our little sister’s piggy bank.

I was the first to the window after butting in line,
barefoot and shivering in my loose-fitting bathing suit.
I held the change in my wrinkled palms,
counting it over again, hoping it was enough.

My brain was numb; my hands were quivering.
I pointed to the picture on the side of the truck.
“The vanilla chocolate chip dip,” I barely said,
“with a rainbow sprinkle jubilee.”

The man pushed a lever on the silver machine
and calmly caught that vanilla swirl into a cone.
Without saying a word, he dipped it into the sprinkles
and some chocolate chips, a Rembrandt, an ice-cream masterpiece.

Sitting on the curb, I lapped up the creamy treat.
I didn’t speak to my friends or acknowledge my Mom
calling me to come in.
I didn’t know whether the pool was overflowing
from the leaky garden hose.
Just the ice cream jingle kept playing in my ear.

.


The Ice Cream Jingle by Mark Tulin

Questions & Answers

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      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        It’s more wonderful now since I’m lactose intolerant.

      • Brenda Arledge profile image

        BRENDA ARLEDGE 

        2 months ago from Washington Court House

        Mark,

        This sounds like a wonderful memory to have from childhood.

        Ice cream is one of my favorites.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        I hear you, Diane. I’ve never experienced such a crazy time. Enjoy the poem and be safe and at peace.

      • Diane Denison profile image

        Diane Denison 

        2 months ago from Cincinnati Ohio

        I am sharing this again Mark. Today with so much stress on people,"A State Of Emergency" People need to laugh. You have the laughter medication

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        14 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Diane. I’m very happy it stirred up nice childhood memories.

      • Diane Denison profile image

        Diane Denison 

        14 months ago from Cincinnati Ohio

        Childhood memories I love this cute poem . I have ice cream sandwiches and your poem and picture stirred up a craving. Your poems are all unique

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        15 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        That would be nice to be able to act like a kid again. Maybe we could only do it in our imagination, now. Thanks for reading, Natalie.

      • Natalie Frank profile image

        Natalie Frank 

        15 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Great poem for a great indulgence! I wish as adults we could elbow each other out of the way then run screaming for the ice cream truck! I don't know why growing up means we lose the best things in life!

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        17 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Shanti.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        17 months ago from london

        Appreciated. It is my Magnum Opus of the spiritual life and contains numerous gems from Sri Chinmoy. Gratitude … gratitude … much.

        As far as I know, you are the first in the five years since Publication, who say that he has bought this book. Very proud of you. Om Shanti!

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        17 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Much thanks, manatita. I did purchase your book. Waiting on it’s delivery. Peace.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        17 months ago from london

        You see. I said I'd do something for you when I had some time. I put this together not so long ago. Glad you liked it.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        17 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Absolutely beautiful, Manatita. Sounds like spiritual ice cream and a heavenly mother. What a combination!

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        17 months ago from london

        My Mother Makes Ice-cream

        "I watched with wet, anticipatory lips,

        As my mother turned the metal can,

        Love flowing from her Heart as

        The handle churned the delectable ingredients within.

        The smell was a fragrant vanilla, a strawberry...

        Essences of the most redolent design.

        Aye, my tummy sang, ready to dance with lust

        And insatiable greed. I watched as the can spun,

        Heralding the taste of the smooth sugary rush,

        On a tongue licking the cold nectar of heavenly gods.

        Aye, come, sweet ecstasy.

        I know the experience of thy name.

        The beauty imprinted on my mother's golden heart,

        Enhances the synergy of a magnificent blend

        Of aroma and spices to die for.

        I rise as she stops the wooden tub from spinning,

        Opens the can and serves the first portion,

        Into my outstretched plate."

        -Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 15th December, 2018.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Yes, Jason. Being playful like a child and being mindful of life’s little pleasures is a great way to de-stress. I appreciate your comments and insights, Mark

      • manunulat profile image

        Jason Behm 

        18 months ago from Cebu, Philippines

        Cute poem! It brings me back to my childhood memories. Thanks for this poem, I am becoming a child at heart again. It is such a nice feeling to be a child. :) Thanks to this poem. Thanks Mark. I am smiling while writing this comment. :)

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Great. I have a Kindle. I will eagerly look it up and download (after I finish my ice cream, of course). Thanks, manatita

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        18 months ago from london

        Interestingly, I do have some pieces, but now I have over 600 Hubs so will be hard to find. You can read my book, though. Chapter one speaks of me growing up in the Caribbean. No ice-cream. Aah!

        The book is called My Guru, Sri Chinmoy: Life and Teachings, available on Amazon for about 12.99 or I can send you the Manuscript for free.

        I suppose I can compose one on ice-cream, if you like. Funny I have one here also but that's about English ice-cream.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        manatita, I'd be fascinated to hear about those younger days in the Caribbean via poetry. Peace, Mark

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        18 months ago from london

        No. I'm here in cold England. I was just reminiscence on my younger days. Ha ha.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Ice Cream in the hot Caribbean sunshine. Now that's paradise, manatita. Enjoy your holidays.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        18 months ago from london

        A funny 'sugarylicious' one. Charming! I used to enjoy ice-cream from cans in the hot Caribbean sunshine. Have a great evening

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Yancosky. Bon Appétit.

      • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

        BBYCGN 

        18 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

        Mark,

        This is a yummy jingle! I love it!

        Hugs

        ♥️

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Li-Jen, for your analysis. I enjoyed your interpretation of tinkle-tinkle especially. I’d like to repeat the event but it’s hard finding a white walrus. Peace, and an enjoyable weekend, Mark.

      • Li-Jen Hew profile image

        Li-Jen Hew 

        18 months ago

        Hello Mark, the poem is a nice treat especially because of the ice cream. The description of the ice cream event was well written. Childhood innocence is also captured because you still ate cold ice cream after a swim which makes the poem have a sweet feel to it. Tinkle-tinkle adds to the cuteness of the poem.Thanks for sharing. Maybe one day, you can repeat the event.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Greensleeves seems like such a beautiful jingle compared to the one Mister Softee had. It was amazing, though, how powerful a jingle could be. It was like being Pavlov’s dog. Thanks again, John.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        18 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Nice work, Mark. I can remember the ice cream trucks and the rush to find some change before they drove away. I used to like the ice cream wafer sandwich and the soft serve cones. The jingle used by most here always seemed to be the instantly recognisable Greensleeves.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Renita Sen. I find it interesting how things like ice cream can be tied to a story or even a jingle. It’s funny, at the time it seemed trivial and with age it has become one of my favorite stories. Much peace, Mark.

      • Senoritaa profile image

        Rinita Sen 

        18 months ago

        Thoroughly enjoyed this, Mark. I suppose we all have a childhood favorite among ice creams. Mine was a specific local brand of chocolate ice cream. We used to get those in little carts at street corners, before all the big brands came up and set up showy shops. I loved it because it was more creamy than icy, a taste I never found anywhere else even after paying double the amount.

        Your poem is such a great path towards those memories. Loved it.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        18 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        It’s ironic, Tim, that the the foods we love the most we find out that we are allergic to them. Now I have to settle for sherbet or non- dairy ice cream. Oh, well. I do miss those days, though. Much peace during the holidays. Mark

      • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

        Tim Truzy 

        18 months ago from U.S.A.

        Thanks for the memories of those wonderful ice cream summers, Mark. You brought up so many themes many of us can relate to and enjoy. I loved those ice cream days, and the summer dripping with sweetness in my cone. If summer was a memory, it would be ice cream.

        Very skillfully written as is all of your poetry.

        Thanks again, and may your holiday season be rewarding.

        Sincerely with much respect and admiration,

        Tim

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