Newsletter: Mr. Softee


In the Brooklyn of my childhood, it wasn’t really Spring until the Mr. Softee trucks came out.

It didn’t matter what you were doing…whenever you heard the tingling bells of the Mr. Softee truck, you dropped what you were doing and ran for the street as fast as you could.

I mean this.

One day, my friend, Benji Dorfman was in the middle of washing the family dog, and in true Pavlovian fashion, heard the bells and ran for the street without another thought, leaving the dog to roll the soap suds off on the living room carpet. The white living room carpet.

Douggie Armer used to run for the truck without remembering to get money first—until as a form of tough love, we refused to spot him, and started making him go back and ask his mom.

Oh…the many near misses with speeding cars! Oh…the horror of getting to the street, only to see the truck already turning the corner at the end of the block, which made it officially out of bounds.

But that was Spring.

In fact, I remember my surprise at seeing the Mr. Softee guy riding the Lexington Avenue subway one Saturday during the winter—it was like someone handing you an Easter egg on Halloween.

What are the rites of Spring for you?

Maybe it’s getting the grill or the lawnmower back in working order. Maybe it’s putting your golf clubs back in the trunk, or getting your beds planted. For some of our teachers, it’s navigating how you’ll teach your classes in May with all the disruption of AP exams. And for our snowbirds, maybe it’s packing up the cars and heading back to Greenwich.

Now that I’m older, these are the precious weeks when it’s warm enough to sit outside on the porch, but there aren’t any bugs.

However it is you know for yourself that Spring has sprung, I hope you’re able to find a way to appreciate this gentle season, and to find in it sources of rest, joy, and connection with all living things. In some ways, our lives return endlessly to larger rhythms and cycles, and things are forever coming around again. At the same time, when Mr. Softee rounds the corner, an opportunity slips away.

May you and I make space for the larger rhythms of Creation, and the soft, tinkling music of God’s love in these days.

See you in church,

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