When I was a kid our neighborhood was "pedestrian friendly". The sidewalks were wide so they could accommodate a grownup walking and a child roller skating. The walks were nestled beneath large elm trees which provided shaded comfort on a hot summer day.
And there were far less need for cars, because the world came to us back then. Three days a week the dairy man would deliver farm fresh eggs and icy cold half gallon bottles of fresh milk. Want bakery fresh bread? The bakery truck would deliver fresh loaves of bread still warm from the oven. The newsboy made $30 dollars a month delivering your morning newspaper.
But my favorite was the old ice cream truck. Each day around noon you'd be out tossing a baseball or climbing a tree and all of sudden you would hear the musical notes (my favorite was Pop Goes The Weasel) from the ice cream truck rolling down your street. You dropped your mitt and ball, or shinned down the tree and ran into the house to beg for a nickel. "Hurry Mom!..."we're gonna miss it!". Then you ran barefoot to catch the truck, then danced in hot asphalt waiting for the ice cream man to get your raspberry pop cycle! The truck would make a second run around three o'clock for those who missed him the first time around.
Many years later, when I was in Vietnam, my wife and little girl would sit on the front curb of our house in Saigon in the early evening. And as they sat, street vendors would come strolling by with a variety of foods. They simply raised their hand and the vendor would come over, pull little saucers out and serve little balls of sweet rice, or minced beef wrapped in small brown rolls. The next vendor would come along and serve little cold mango jello treats, then move on. Then a coffee wagon would come along and serve sweet, creamy french coffee in little demitasse cups. These little evening food fests were as much about socializing and entertainment as it was about the food.
I usually had one night off a week. On my morning off my wife would go out to the market and buy me fresh eggs that were just off the farm that morning. She would then come home and wait for the "ban me" (french bread) man to sing out "ban me" outside our window. She would then go out and take from him a fresh warm baguette, bring it in and cook my eggs, butter my fresh warm baguette, and I would dine like a king. That night we would be watching old Sherlock Holmes mysteries on Armed Forces television when the "Pho" (Beef noodle soup) man would stroll by singing "Pho!". We would run out and get two huge bowls of Pho soup with all the fresh noodles and veggies, then hurry back in to eat soup and watch a great old movie.
Now the world has "fast food" and microwave ovens and you go to them and hope your microwaved food is not too cold by the time you get home.
How I miss when the world once came to us!