Sunday, August 13, 2006

Super Saturday!



“Did you lose something?” the lady asks me as she exits her parking lot near the top of the hill where the AMHL photographer and I reside.

“The ice cream man,” I reply, glancing around, questioning the source of the magical musical truck loaded with frozen pleasures. The faint sound of melodic bells dances in the cool Canadian-imported air. I can’t discern the truck’s location, as if I’m in a musical fun house; the music is seemingly coming from everywhere.

Then it fades…until I can no longer here it. The ice cream man must be in another neighborhood. Disappointed but far from depressed, I take stock of this Saturday as I walk the last 20 yards home, where I started the day with exercise: a good half hour’s worth of yoga mixed with aerobic activity, fueled by songs such as Gloria Estefan’s “I Just Wanna Be Happy” and Rascal Flats’ remake of Tom Cochran’s “Life is a Highway.”

Bonnie Raitt was belting out “Thing Called Love” as we entered our favorite Dunkin’ Donuts. The friendly familiar faces of our Brazilian-born hosts greeted us.

“Boa música!” I told them. They smiled they’re agreement.

I ordered my traditional medium coffee and Chocolate Frosted Donut but shocked my wife by opting for the Blueberry Bagel with cream cheese instead of my usual Harvest Bagel with peanut butter.

“I’m full of surprises,” I told my wife.

At our corner table, the Corrs delighted us with “Breathless” as we digested the Boston Globe’s sports section. Nothing about hockey. It was all about last night’s Sox victory against the Orioles, including frame-by-frame photos of third baseman Mike Lowell’s sensational catch in foul territory. My wife then read from the entertainment section, reporting the review—from Rick Springfield to Patty Smyth of Scandal—of Thursday night’s “We are the 80s Concert” at the Bank of America Pavilion.

“It’s 9:30. Time to go,” the other half of the AMHL media said. I finished my donut, picked up my cup of coffee, and then walked outside into the 70-something degree day. Bold blue sky, nary a nimbulus cloud. Off to the post office.

As our postal clerk Marie strapped USPS tape across a package containing precious photos for a cousin in New York, the AMHL photographer and I thought of the AMHLer who secures his hockey socks to his shin pads with USPS tape. Marie found the story funny too.

Next stop: Legends Sporting Goods in Acton. My wife needs 50 pucks, to which she’ll adhere AMHL likenesses. In two weeks, she’ll award these photo pucks to championship game participants. While she was talking to Kevin, Legends' owner, I spotted an AMHL celebrity: Tom Tidman.

Wearing a faded and worn “Cleveland Golf Course” baseball cap and white “Friends of the Acton Arboretum T-shirt, the animated Ontarian looked like he could still score a hat trick every game. Tom had retired from the AMHL a few years ago, in part because Wednesday night conservation meetings sapped his desire to play Thursday morning hockey. He said he still plays on Friday nights in Fitchburg but added he’s contemplating a comeback to the AMHL in the new Wednesday division! I shook his hand and patted him on the back, hoping to see him skating on AMHL ice again.

The league photographer feels the same way. My wife, with whom I witnessed another Red Sox victory this afternoon, is waiting at home for me—wondering if I’ve located the ice cream man.

The carousel music amplifies. As I reach the summit of our street, I see the Circus-Man truck heading up the other side of the hill. I wave my fistful of dollar bills at him. He pulls to the side of the road, rises from the driver’s seat, and then walks to the window. I order a chocolate éclair. As he searches the bin for the chocolate treasure on a stick, my wife walks down the hill to join me. I raise my arms a la Ray Romano, grateful for not only ice cream but also circus music, 80s music, AMHL legends, cultural diversity, donuts, my wife…a great day!
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