Have You Had an Embarrassing Moment? Here is Mine. What Was Yours?

The excitement built as we heard the sound of the Humpty Dumpty truck on those warm summer evenings.  When Herbie arrived, we were standing by the curb with money in hand, thinking of what delicious treat we might have this night.

Herbie was a serious, little guy always in a hurry, kind of like the “Mad Hatter.” He had a large hook shaped nose and owl like eyes set back in his small face, and he sold the ice cream from an armored freezer that was sitting on the rear of his panel truck.
Across the front of the truck, from the top of the windshield to the freezer, was a buttoned down, soft canvas cover that shielded Herbie from the sun. There were no doors.

Dan came out of his house, having just finished his supper. He was eating an apple. As soon as he saw Herbie’s truck pull to the curb, he tossed the half eaten apple straight up in the air and at the truck. It came to a halt on the canvas cover. “What an interesting landing site,” I thought.
I strolled to the truck to punch the canvas with my powerful right and launch the apple into the air. My timing was perfect. As I approached the passenger side and launched the punch, Herbie had turned in his seat, was hunched over and just exiting from that same side. I hit something soft but much firmer than canvas. I backed away looking up for the apple, but it was nowhere in sight. Rather, I saw Herbie exiting the truck with his hand over his eye. I realized then what had happened. I punched him! I backed away. “He’s coming after me.” He did not. He paused, stunned and surprised.

“What the heck did you do that for?”
“Do what?”
“Punch me!”

Scared to death and unprepared to acknowledge the obvious, I replied, “I didn’t punch you!” I turned around to an audience of friends squirming, trying not to laugh. “I was trying to hit the apple on the canvas. How did I know you would come out at the same time as my punch? I’m sorry.”
“Oh baloney,” he moaned.

By now, the kids were rolling with laughter. I was done, no more Creamsicles for me, I thought. I would be lucky to live, never mind eat. With his hand over his eye, Herbie walked to the rear of the truck, opened the freezer door and took out a Creamsicle which he put on his eye. He glared at me. “What the hell do you want?”
“Uh, uh, uh… I’ll have a Creamsicle… p…p…please.”  I backed away.
“Sure, what else! Sonofabitch. Dam you. Man this hurts.”

The Creamsicle

The Creamsicle

He gave me the Creamsicle, took my money and drove away, holding his Creamsicle against his eye with his right hand and the steering wheel with his left.

He returned the following evening. I hid behind one of the big maple trees in the neighborhood, peeking and bobbing like a pigeon. This night he exited on the driver’s side. His right eye was black and owl like, making at least one side of his face menacing. I shuffled to the truck as if my feet were stuck in mud. He looked at me, paused for a long moment and said, “Now what?”

“Uh, I’ll have a drumstick.”

© April 2015

By | 2017-07-10T16:10:12+00:00 May 11th, 2015|Humor, Neighborhood, Stories of the 1940's and 1950's|4 Comments


  1. Tony Kubica May 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    My first memory of an embarrassing moment didn’t have the pugilistic flare of yours. But it does reflect a learning moment. I learned that what I may think is funny, is not so funny especially to a teacher. I was a kindergarten, sitting at a table with six other kids, waiting for our mid-morning snack. The teacher set out napkins, and I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if I blew the napkins off the table?” So I did; and it wasn’t. To my utter surprise, no one laughed. The teacher walked over to the table, said something to me, the details of which I must have suppressed, and proceeded to tell me what a dumb idea it was. I was crushed like only a 5 year old could be when chastised.

    • Ed May 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      So intresting are some of our memories. Lessons learned at no great expense. Thanks, Tony. It actually is quite funny by the way.
      Write it for your blog as if you were telling your grandchildren the story.

  2. Vin DiBiasio May 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Not an embarrassing moment but the story behind the story.

    In the mid to late 50’s I worked during the summer at Delmonico’s ice cream plant on Valley Street. We had various ice cream trucks buy their novelties every morning. Two of the ice cream vendors were Humpty Dumpty. Two brothers owned the company and drove their trucks throughout the neighboring area. I remember one of the brother’s name was Ben and forgot the other brother’s name , probably Herbie.

    Delmonico’s made popsicles, creamsicles, fudgsicles, Drumsticks, NuttyBuddys, ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, and bulk ice cream.

    Ed probably ate the creamsicle and drumstick I made. I hope you enjoyed them Ed.

    • Ed May 12, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      I remember DelMonico’s, Vin, but never knew hey were the Humpty people. And to think you helped to make some of my favorite ice cream treats.
      Thanks for weighing in.

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