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Icebox Days

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When I was a kid, my dad worked as a roughneck and driller in the oil exploration business. The little towns near the oil fields couldn't accommodate the huge influx of workers and their families, so people often lived in camps and small trailer parks with very few services. Back in those days in a small trailer, you kept your food cool in an icebox, which looked like a small fridge, but had a compartment in which a large block of ice was placed, which kept the rest of the icebox cool. On the bottom, there was a drip tray which had to be emptied out regularly as the ice melted. There were businesses which specialized in block ice delivery. The delivery man was called the iceman. You put a card in the window which displayed how much ice you wanted that day, normally in 25 lb units.
A seething summer morning in the oil boom trailer park
Oral Roberts on the radio with the gospel told by Mark
The reek of raw petroleum is everywhere around
We little oil trash urchins play marbles on the ground

He drives out here most every day around the hour of nine
Checking all the trailer windows for a little cardboard sign
He parks the canvas-covered truck and dons his leather vest
Throws a tow sack o'er his back and shows his Sunday best

Down the drive comes Danny, on his mighty motor bike
Hanging on the handlebars, his bigger brother Mike
The engine makes a ton of noise, a dandy double stroke
Two baseball cards and clothespins, hitting every spoke

Our ragamuffin gang was gathered, just waiting for the time
To contrive our evil strategy and carry out our crime
“The iceman, the iceman!”, I hear my sisters say
“Y'all be quiet!”, I hiss to them,” You'll give us all away!”

The iceman sidles round the truck and casts the canvas back
Scores a hundred-pounder block and cleaves it with a whack
Tongs the icy burden to his back and laughs at what is left
Chunks and chips of frozen jewels, the targets of our theft

We want so hard to play it cool and act like we don't care
All our mouths fill up with drool and it's tricky not to stare
The iceman winks his eye at me and hides a little grin
Then walks up to the trailer door where mother lets him in

The moment that the door slams shut, the bandits make their play
With eyes lit up, we whoop and shout like kids on holiday
We suck up all the chunks and chips and with our bellies iced
We swagger off to brag about our frosty jewelry heist

It's true we didn't have a lot, perhaps enough to just scrape by
But the visit from the iceman was like Christmas in July
And when I pass through oilfield country, it never ceases to amaze
How the scent of raw petroleum brings back those icebox days

January 30, 2013

Copyright © | Year Posted 2013

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Date: 3/22/2014 8:30:00 PM
That kept me seated. Excelent write Roy! I like that o'l childhood flavor you deliverd well. I felt like I took part in the script. Boys' being boys' at play, the hard way. Heres another 10 for outstanding write.
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Date: 3/14/2014 6:17:00 PM
Wonderful concrete imagery, I can imagine those days, Roy!
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Date: 1/25/2014 4:03:00 PM
This is nothing short of brilliant Roy. I loved it from start to finish. One ever so small suggestion, consider changing Jewel to Jewelry. I think it has a better rhythm to it. I'm glad this gem caught my eye Roy. All the best Rick
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Roy Jerden
Date: 1/25/2014 4:59:00 PM
Perfect suggestion. Done. Thanks! And thanks for the read of an older one.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/25/2014 4:05:00 PM
I enjoyed the refference notes as well. It is amazing what we take for granted.
Date: 1/5/2014 1:31:00 PM
Roy Such a lovely and wonderful write of the "good old days" You weaved a tale of the simplicity of days gone bye. Nice job Thanks for the congrats on my Horsie poem.
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Roy Jerden
Date: 1/5/2014 5:46:00 PM
Thanks! What attracted you to read this old poem instead of something newer?
Date: 3/18/2013 1:45:00 PM
Roy, I enjoyed reading this wonderful poem again! Congrats on your win! Love, Kim
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Date: 3/14/2013 7:09:00 PM
Congrats Roy.knew it was great.....Donna
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Date: 3/13/2013 8:26:00 PM
Congrats, Roy. Excellent. Nice going. Ralph
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Date: 3/10/2013 8:43:00 AM
A facinating write... My Hubby lived in the NorthWest and as he leeft the house his mom always said 'Don't Hunt the bears... My Dad told me about the Toby Shows that came around from town to town... The whole town went to see them before they left to go to the next town... It was a big thing...
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Roy Jerden
Date: 3/10/2013 1:51:00 PM
Date: 3/9/2013 7:45:00 PM
Roy. thank you for the nice and simple smile :-) "CONGRATULATIONS!" and goodnight xox...PD
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Date: 2/8/2013 3:49:00 PM
I really enjoyed this souvenir of your past and reading also the notes about your dad's job and how you lived. I bet you still loved your life though. all that matters is the wealth of family and the good old times!!
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Date: 2/2/2013 5:02:00 PM
Wow. Sinclair or Sun? This was awesome. Reminded me of the cashing in pop bottle days and buying big nickel candy bars.
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Date: 2/1/2013 7:55:00 AM
WOW! Your ice box explanation brought back great memories of our "ice man" when I was a kid. We lived in a suburb of Montreal, Canada back in the 40s. We also had a bread man and a milk man who brought their products to our door... thanks for the great memories, my friend!
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Roy Jerden
Date: 2/1/2013 5:57:00 PM
Thanks, Jack! I thought you might be one of the few here who might share this memory. Cheers, Roy
Date: 1/30/2013 8:28:00 PM
Roy it was a pleasure to read your poem! Wonderfully nostalgic, with great rhyme and flow! Fantastic! Love, Kim
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