BOSTON — Catching lightning bugs. Racing barefoot on a fresh-cut lawn. Belly flops. Hide 'n' seek after dark. The distant jingle of an ice-cream truck.
Some things are just indigenous to a child's summer.
But not in Sudbury, Mass. Not since 1926, when ice-cream trucks were banned as a sensible protection for all in this well-to-do, Colonial suburb of Boston.
At last year's town meeting, a move to lift the ban was rebuffed. What about the noise pollution? Or kids running willy-nilly into the street? Drug pushers and pedophiles have used ice cream trucks to lure their victims, it was accurately noted.
At what age does "Turkey in the Straw" become annoying? When do we begin to see pedophiles on every corner posing as Good Humor men?
I don't know. But Sara Gentile, a sixth-grader, thankfully hasn't reached that age.
She contacted 14 nearby towns where ice-cream trucks troll. "I am pleased to inform you," said Sara, at the 359th Sudbury town meeting, "that none reported any incidents of drug dealing, child abuse, or personal injury."
Her research revealed ice-cream trucks are safer than school buses or bicycles.
You go girl. Thanks to Sara, Bomb Pops, Chief Crunchies, and - Sara's favorite - Choco Taco - will wheel into town this month.
Instead of banning these trucks as irritants - as some towns are now doing - lower the jingle volume. Install swing-arm stop signs, like those on school buses.
And listen to Sara: "You feel really good when you've made a difference."
Thanks, Sara, from the kid in all of us.
*Write the Homefront, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org