Not long after the summer season got into full swing, I began to hear a curious ringing near the house. The tone, duration, and actual ring sounded nearly identical to the familiar school-bell that announced the classes in my high school. As there is no school nearby and being summer when school is out anyway, we couldn’t imagine what was causing the ringing.
At first it seemed to be coming from the general direction of the house under construction one street over. Bryan surmised that perhaps the sound was a tile cutter. I was dubious but figured he might be right. But then we started hearing it at well after 10:00 p.m. and knew it had nothing to do with construction techniques.
We grew accustomed to the tone and learned to tune it out amid the other summer noises of parties, barking dogs, screaming kids and jovial voices. But then one day the sound seemed to be coming from right outside our gate so we asked Francesca, “What the heck is that?” She laughed and said, “gelato”. Ah, the ice cream truck. Soon after, while taking an evening stroll, we saw and heard it simultaneously and sure enough, she was right. He’d ring the bell then park and wait for people to emerge. Funny, we thought, and then reminisced about bomb pops, drumsticks and fudge bars. Being spoiled with artigianale gelato in town, we didn’t think we’d try the packaged type.
Until a couple nights ago, that is, when I was craving something chocolatey; I heard the school bell and figured I’d suck it up and see what he had. Little did I know! This being Italy I should not have underestimated the ice cream man. This guy had a mobile gelateria, complete with homemade gelato, sorbetto, granita, and banana splits. Cups, cones, and special concoctions. With whipped cream and chocolate sauce, even. At prices that are on a par with what one normally finds in the gelateria in the centro.
copyright 2006 Valerie Schneider
How stupid we’ve been! All summer we could have been partaking in the mobile confections and shunned it thinking it was packaged and manufactured tasteless stuff. We really should have known better. Now I hear that bell and shake my head at my ignorance.