When I was a kid living in a suburban wonderland of American-invented conveniences, I can still hear the echoing of the old time jingle of the ice-cream truck making a Summer-time tour of our neighborhood. The dinky bell-like jingle of jing-a-ling, jing-a-ling played off the facades of the split-level and ranch-style homes of our sub-division along newly paved asphalt drives with perfectly formed cement curbs and sidewalks. The later was ideal for roller-skating while sucking a manufactured cone with vanilla ice-cream topped with jimmies just bought off the ice-cream truck. It was fantastic. Saved us too from having to pile into the back of our dad’s Buick to head to, what else? McDonald’s, the King-super grocery store or the big toy-store at the Cherry Creek Shopping Village.
A couple of days ago, sitting in 2nd floor studio working with the tech-guy on a new website for my concierge service, I was stopped, arrested by a familiar sounding jingly-jangling music coming up from the street below. What’s that? The music? It’s the fish-monger. Ice-cream. No, he sells fish. Sorry. I was thinking back to an ice-cream truck. Yeah, had them too in the UK.
Once heard you begin to listen for others. Once-upon-a-time, back in the presumed glory days of Codiponte of 30 years ago, few who lived in Codiponte had cars. The options were to wait until you could hitch a ride with someone on market day, say to big towns of Fivizzano and Aulla or, you waited for what you needed to buy from the daily meandering village-to-village truck-vendors: fruit & vegetable trucks, the 3-wheeler Ape carrying kitchen furnishings, the hardware guy, auto-supply husband & wife team, the cleaning products lady, chicken & fried food family, the cheese brothers too, they all came punctually every week and they each had their own musical schtick: whistles, a running commentary on items & prices… Get your fresh ripe peaches, 2.20 a kilo, none better around… musical chimes, even a silly horn toot of… Shave and Haircut, two bits… or snippets of popular songs stolen off the radio, all to distinguish and alert. You’d recognize the ditty you were waiting for and be drawn by the noise to one or the other stopping places in Codiponte: the main piazza which once sported a bar, a laundry, several stores and artisan cubby-holes or at the sliver of a parking lot across from the Pieve di Codiponte, the church.
A great time to peruse the merchandise, get the latest on-the-other-side-of-the-hill news & gossip, run into folk in the village you hardly see since, you never go to that side of Codiponte… it may be a small Italian village but Codiponte is big… make your purchase and push back for home.
These days this roving commercial traffic is down to a fish-monger, 2 green-grocers and occasionally a guy walking and selling brooms and Kleenex. Times have changed. Convenience is spelled… c-a-r… to drive to the wider choices had in the bigger towns or the Internet and hope the DHL-guy knows where in the Hell Codiponte is.