An Old Story Gets A New Ending

Over the years I’ve told dozens of stories about my father on this blog but there are a few of them that seem to stick with people more than others.  When I talk to readers of this blog about my family they frequently ask me about my father and the ice cream man.  For those of you who have never heard the story I’ve included it below.  For those of you who already know it, you can skip past the italicized part to get to the very special follow-up to the story.

My Dad Vs. The Ice Cream Man

The kids on the block were not big fans of my dad, but not because he was mean to them. My dad has always been good to kids, and for a while they all liked him just fine. He kept himself in good standing through good Halloween candy and a liberal policy as far as playing in his yard went.

Then one day kids started crossing the street rather than walk past his house and the moms would sadly shake their heads as they drove past. All because my dad was a man who won’t budge from his principles.

Like most stories of a man fighting the system this one involves an ice cream man. This ice cream man seemed like your typical suburban vendor until my dad discovered a dark side. You see one afternoon he got a craving for an Italian ice, not just any one though, a Marino’s Italian Ice. I’m not sure if these are available outside of the New York and New Jersey area so if you’ve never heard of them they are pre packaged ice treats that come with a handy little wooden spoon things to eat them with. The spoon was not much of a spoon, just a flat little thing that looked kinda like a miniature paddle but they were as essential to Italian ice as a straw is to a milkshake.

When dad heard the ice cream man coming he ran outside to stop him, asked for a cherry flavored Italian ice, paid and then noticed that something was wrong. There was the ice but there was no wooden spoon.

“Hey where’s my spoon?”

-“I don’t have any spoons.”

Dad did what any reasonable man would do and said:

“Well I don’t want it then.”

-”You got spoons in your house don’t you?”

“That’s not the point, of course I have spoons in the house but when you eat one of these you gotta have a wooden spoon”

“Hey pal, I got no wooden spoons”

“Well you shouldn’t be selling these then…You’re a disgrace to your profession. I don’t know how you even became an ice cream man”

The ice cream man then said. “Look, here’s you dollar back you don’t have to be an asshole about it”

That was the wrong thing to say…unless you are an ice cream man looking to get an ass kicking on a summer day.  As the ice cream man drove away he was reminded not to forget the wooden spoons next time.

Of course there was no next time. The block was absent of ice cream men after that day and the kids all knew why. My father was no longer the nice guy, he was the guy who made the ice cream man go away. The kids just didn’t understand yet that a man has to believe in something or he’s got no reason to go on living. It just happened that my father believed to his very core that an Italian ice was worthless without a wooden spoon and I can’t say I disagree with him.


Okay, we all know the story.  Now let’s fast forward many years to a rainy Sunday morning on Long Island:  I was sitting in a WWII themed restaurant (seriously) having brunch with my wife and my mother and father in law because my father had passed away.  My dad’s wake was later that day and I was completely in shock (I still am to be honest with you). We were having brunch before going to the funeral home and my wife was staying close by in case I needed her.  As I made my way across the breakfast buffet in a daze my wife took me by the hand and walked me over to the desert area where there was a freezer full of ice cream cups but more importantly, a stash of wooden spoons just like the ones that came with Marino’s Italian Ices.  She put two of them in my hand and said:  “Just in case the ice cream men in heaven run out” and that is why my father was buried with a little wooden spoon.  This is also evidence that I have a wonderful wife who always knows the right thing to say and do.

For the record, the second spoon came back to LA with me. I’ll be keeping it in a safe spot, just in case I need it someday.



Filed under Betheboy Dad Stories

32 responses to “An Old Story Gets A New Ending

  1. Oh my god that made me teary. Slackmistress is the bomb.

    I will never look at one of those little wooden spoons the same way now.

  2. This is the best coda to any story Ever. (Except for the part where your dad died. That still sucks.)

  3. vintagecaveman

    This is my favorite Dad of Boy story, and it now has an even better ending.

    We’re happy to have you around, fuckpants.

  4. That’s a beautiful end to that story, Will, and it seriously made me cry. Thank you for being so open.

  5. One of my favorite stories, and now with a wonderful new ending curtosey of a lovely lady.

    It made me teary eyed.


  6. You really did find yourself a keeper, didn’t you? I’m wish there was something I could do to help with the pain of losing your father. He truly sounds like he was one of a kind.

  7. Your dad is right, of course, but I just don’t want him to get in trouble whereever he is.


  8. absurdemest

    A beautiful story, beautifully told. Thanks, Will.

  9. GladGirl

    Beautiful story Will. Thank you.

  10. Love this. Love you two.

  11. Wow. That’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever read here.

    You won the lottery with Slackmistress.

    Peace be with you, Will.

  12. Liat

    Your wife is friggin’ awesome and you should keep her forever.

    I, too, am in shock and terribly sorry.

  13. This makes me want to cry. Our fathers came from a generation of strong headed people, and while they aren’t always right, we love them for standing up for what they believe in, and being themselves.

    When I was younger, I used to dread growing up and “becoming my dad”, now I act like him on a daily basis. Stories like this remind me it’s not so bad.

  14. Further evidence that you two were made for each other.

  15. Burns!

    Perfect story. Thanks. We should all be so lucky to have a dad and a wife like yours.

  16. Bill in Clinton Twp

    I know exactly the spoon that you mean.
    The story reminds me of my wife’s grandfather.
    His birthday (94 this year!) ice cream cups MUST have the wooden spoon or the ice cream would be ruined.

  17. Will Campbell

    The story and epilogue didn’t make me want to cry. It made me cry.

    I can already see that these wonderful tales are begging to be compiled into a book and the cover graphic should be a simple wooden spoon.

  18. Garrett

    Great story, especially the end. And for what it’s worth, your dad was right about the wooden spoons.

  19. Wow. Both of you are amazing people but this story solidifies to me that you both were meant to be together.

  20. JT

    Man, Will…your wife is an incredible woman. Sorry to hear about your father as well. Take care.

  21. Caroline

    You hit this one outta’ the park Will. You’re Dad would be very proud. And way to go, Nina. You both rock.

  22. Robert Lee Allen

    I like that story! I like your blog alot.
    Thanks Man

  23. You HAVE to have the spoon.
    A perfect ending.

  24. You let me know when the wooden spoon-covered book is available for purchase – I want to get a first edition. Wonderful story.

  25. first, i want to stand up for your dad and say that eating a marinos italian ice without a wooden spoon is seriously unthinkable!

    second, your wife is now my idol. of all the ‘what can I do for you’ things that people try when you have a loss, she cut right to exactly what you needed.

    amazing story. thanks for sharing.

  26. Kerry

    Love it. Stella just had a mini Ben and Jerry’s vanilla tonight, just an hour ago. There was a notice on the package that a spoon was inside. I was anxiously expecting the Marinos wooden paddle. Instead there was an ergonomically designed white plastic jobbie. I would have raised holy hell but man, that little girl put that modern abomination to good use.

    Rock on, Slackmistress and Boy-Dad.

  27. Kerry

    OK, now that I have wiped the tear away and swallowed the lump in the throat, I have to ask; How was the Hitler Burger?

  28. im completely crying at work.

  29. Marisa

    republic airport in farmingdale?

  30. Cousin of the boy

    I love the little wooden spoon story!! And even more I love the ending, Nina is great as are you cousin !! Love you guys

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