You may question the spelling of his name, but every child in the small Rhode Island neighborhood where I spent my early years would testify to its accuracy.
Whenever we would hear the bell and see the white truck advancing slowly down the street, we would sound the call, “JIMMYTHEICECREAMMAN!!!!!”
Looking back, I am convinced that children from as far away as Vermont and New Hampshire would swarm the truck like ants on a forgotten lollypop.
Whether we swarmed Jimmy’s truck for the frozen treats or for a moment with Jimmy himself, I’m not sure. Both melted together to form a magic that was unmistakable.
On this day, his grin met mine as he intuitively sensed the struggle going on inside me. Gently he raised the question with which I had been wrestling, “Maple Walnut or Raspberry Sherbet?”
Recklessly I spoke my choice in a rush of words lest I change my mind again. “Maple Walnut!” I said. I slid the precious quarter across the cold steel of the ledge as he handed my treasure through the window. Grasping it carefully and extending my tongue to catch the drip that was already forming on the bottommost of the three scoops, I backed away from the truck to make room for the next child.
That was when disaster struck.
I had forgotten that in my haste I had dumped my bicycle in the sand as I approached the truck. Unaware of the bicycle, I stepped back into the rear tire, lost my balance, and fell, sprawling across the prone bicycle with a cry of surprise.
My startled cry quickly escalated into a full-blown wail as I saw my precious ice cream cone upended in the sand beside my bicycle. One look was enough. The sacred had become defiled. Running faster than I had when Jimmy’s bell first chimed, I flew through the door of our apartment, flung myself into my mother’s arms, and cried inconsolably.
Before she could even begin to discern what had happened, a knock sounded on the door. My friend Freddy stood there, like a Magi bearing a gift for the Christ child. He proudly extended the treasure, a fully-upright sand-free triple scoop Maple Walnut ice cream cone. “It’s from Jimmy,” he said unnecessarily, “He said he hopes you aren’t hurt.”
In Ephesians 4:32, God instructs us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” Sometimes I forget the quiet power of kindness. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to be kind. It just takes a heart that is tender and quick to respond to the needs and pain of others.
As you move through your day today, ask God to show you someone who needs a kind word or gesture. Like Jimmytheicecreamman, you could single-handedly change the direction of someone’s day.
Copyright 2011 Lori Hatcher
Lori is a lead writer for WOW.
See her picture,
read her bio
and find out about her new book
on WOW Lead Writers page.
Read some other devotions by Lori
on Lead Reads,
And read about Lori's recently published book
Joy in the Journey.