Dallas Columnist Wants Ice Cream Trucks to be Quieter

The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial  over the weekend decrying loud and obnoxious ice cream vendors at White Rock Lake who are ruining the “serenity” at the lake. From the editorial, “Most of the time, the loudest sounds are of kids laughing, the water lapping at the shoreline, a bicycle’s gears changing or maybe a passing sailboat’s rig rustling in the wind. Then comes the ice cream vendor. No matter where you are on the lake or in surrounding neighborhoods, the vendor’s presence is rudely announced through loudspeakers blaring cheap electronic music like “Turkey in the Straw” or “The Entertainer.” It instantly destroys the relaxed atmosphere and, for as long as the ice cream van lingers (invariably with the loudspeaker still blaring), converts this peaceful setting into something more like the slot machine floor at a Las Vegas casino.” Columnist Tod Robberson also blogged about the problem and called for a stop to the, “teeth-grindingly annoying sound of a plinkety-plink electronic version of “The Entertainer,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and some other unintelligible song played at ridiculous volumes, with mind-numbing repetitiveness, by ice cream vendors driving around in cheap vans.”

The irony: the picture accompanying the ice-cream-vendors-are-annoying editorial features two little girls buying ice cream. And Tod, respect him mucho, is a man of a certain age. No CHILD was interviewed in the blog or stories. What seems like an honest editorial actually sounds more like a  cranky curmudgeon who wants to take ice cream away from kids. Think finger wagging grandpa: you kids turn that music down! I bet Tod, and others, weren’t complaining about the sound of the ice cream van when they were children. And though it sometimes is repetitive and loud, I was thankful for the sound at White Rock Lake last summer when it was 100+ degrees, and I was pregnant and really needed ice cream. And in other parts of the world, Turkey for instance, ice cream vendors are artisans.

Natchitoches, Louisiana. An African American woman buying ice-cream for children from a truck, June 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. : Wikimedia

Is the music annoying? Sure. But think about what the poor drivers go through. And that annoying sound that drives me and others crazy as adults is a refreshing reminder of happy memories from my childhood. I grew up in the country without ice cream vendors. It was always a special treat to visit my aunt in Grand Prairie and listen for the ice cream truck. I’d beg my parents for a dollar and run to meet the truck: Huurrryyyy! He’s coming!

While The News may advocate for a little more peace and quiet at White Rock Lake, I’d love to see a council member or columnist explain to kids why the ice cream truck has to be quiet: Suzy, you missed the ice cream truck because now when it drives by the vendor has to whisper “ice cream”. In some neighborhoods, the palettas vendor pushes a cart and jingles a few bells. It’s very unobtrusive. If the main complaint is really the noise level or the same song repeated, perhaps simply asking the vendor to turn it down or suggesting a new playlist might work. Most vendors are accommodating at White Rock and the legal ones want to keep their license and will likely comply. In the meantime, Dallas, turn down your hearing aids and let kids enjoy their ice cream truck years!

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About admin

Chick Talk Dallas is the hatchling of Joanna Cattanach, a former Dallas Morning News staff writer/news assistant. A graduate of Baylor University, she currently works as a freelance writer and writing instructor in the Dallas area where she, her husband and baby son call home. Follow her on twitter.com/ChickTalkDallas.
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