What do you call the ice cream man or woman driving the truck full of goodies around neighborhoods?
Ice cream truck?
Not in this area.
I've always known him as the Pinky-Dinky man.
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It wasn't until I moved away for school that I realized it wasn't a universal term for the man or woman who served cheap treats to the neighborhood kids.
If you're hearing this term for the first time, I wish I could explain where it originated. A quick search through the Internet doesn't provide any answers.
And you can't ask anyone who regularly uses the term, either. We don't know. Really, I asked people throughout the Ledger-Enquirer building, and no one knew its origin.
The ones who didn't grow up here gave me that poor, country-girl look like I'd lost my mind.
This weekend we drove to Birmingham to watch my nephew play baseball for the University of Alabama-Birmingham. They play most of their games at Regions Field, which is a beautiful, downtown baseball stadium that provides zero parking.
It serves as the home stadium for the Double-A Chicago White Sox affiliate, known as the Birmingham Barons.
When we were walking to the field, the ice cream truck was sitting next to a park. They aren't that common around our area nowadays. I'm sure it has something to do with parents not allowing their kids to walk up to strangers in a suspicious truck from which he sells "food."
But this truck looked just like the old ones.
It was a little white truck with the open window on the side that displayed pictures of ice cream sandwiches, cones, and probably that treat that looked like a baseball glove with the ball made of bubble gum stuck in the middle.
He also had the music box that sounded like, at any minute, it would crumble to pieces inside the rickety vehicle.
At some point during the two games, the music played for a long period of time, or at least long enough that my brother or sister mentioned the words "Pinky-Dinky man."
My sister-in-law gave us that "You poor Phenix City-folk" look that is pretty common at times. Growing up around the Montgomery, Ala., area, she had never heard that phrase.
It struck up a conversation in our family. My brother-in-law is from Phenix City, so he knew we were talking about the ice cream truck. My husband offered the same look as my sister-in-law, shaking his head at our podunk town slang.
I asked my mom where the term came from, and she had no clue. Her parents called him the Pinky-Dinky man, too. Same went for my father and his mother.
So, I still don't know how or why Phenix City and parts of Columbus started calling it the Pinky-Dinky man. My best guess is that one of the popular trucks back in the day branded it that way.
And it apparently stuck.
Stephanie Pedersen, senior editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.