Very hot today. A Jew and I walk down the crowded boulevard, avoiding splashing water from the hydrant. Children run through scorching sidewalks.
I approach an ice cream man and ask him for two large chocolate cones for us. He reaches into his tub with his scoop and almost right away his face is contorted with a look of inexpressible disgust. I try not to notice. It would be bad mannered to do so. The Jew talks to a black dog that has approached.
He pulls his hand from the tub. We can all see another hand reaching out of the tub, grappling with him, trying to haul him in. He resists well, although he drools slightly into the tub. Over on the other side of the road, a smart new Ice Cream Van draws up. The running children run for it avidly. The Jew runs for it avidly. The dog runs for it avidly. I run for it avidly.
The new van has no dents or scratches, no faded advertisements, no badly constructed signs or out-dated products. The man has a white uniform with the name of the retailer on it. He has no chocolate ice cream, but we all feel so deeply relieved. We feel relieved and grateful. We feel relieved and grateful and happy to be alive with the strange dog that belongs to everyone and no one. This is the Chicago of 1961 that everyone remembers.