Archive | 6:02 am

Turkey in the Straw, Truck in the Ditch

28 Jun

I recently read a Twitter thread about ice cream trucks and immediately flashed back to a day in 1992.

I was living on a finca on the Loma del Chocho, in the hills above Envigado, Colombia. At night, from inside the gate – and a gate was a safety requirement – I could see the lights of Pablo Escobar’s former prison, El Catedral.

It was a warm day and I was sitting in the shade in the backyard, reading or napping. I was in that dreamy state when the world around me had receded and was lost in thought or in my book. In the distance, I could hear the music of an ice cream truck coming down the hill, heading into Envigado. It was a frequent sound that mingled in the background of a day full of other sounds – cars on the road, birds, neighbors dogs.

I registered that the sound of the ice cream truck was getting louder, coming closer to the house. I started paying closer attention because it seemed that the tune the truck was playing was Turkey in the Straw. It struck me as an odd tune given the fact that I was in South America. It was a tune incongruous with my environment.

In my memory – and we know how memory can be faulty – I noticed that the speed of the song seemed to be speeding up. As it got faster, I also noticed that the sound of the tires on the road seemed to be getting faster too. I sat up a little straighter.

Then I heard the crash.

Our road wound down from the top of a hill. Halfway into Envigado, it veered left, past a gully, where gallinazos (buzzards) gathered. And that is where the ice cream truck ended its run.

I don’t recall what, if anything, I did afterwards. But anytime I hear Turkey in the Straw or see an ice cream truck, I am drawn back to that warm day.

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