For Whom the Bells Toll


The ice cream cart in front of our gate

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.  ~George Elliot

I was raking mango leaves when I heard the soft tinkling of bells. Like Pavlov’s dogs, I began to salivate. I ran into my house, grabbed my cordobas, and headed for the beach. Five jingling copper bells signaled the arrival of the ice cream man’s cart.

The ice cream man stops at my beach three times a week. He pushes his cart over a mile and a half along the rutted volcanic sand path to La Paloma where he sells ice cream to all of the vacationing school kids. He knows he has a gold mine with me because I usually buy enough ice cream to stock my small refrigerator freezer for a week.

Yesterday, he arrived with 12 ice cream sandwiches for me. A few days ago, he sold all his ice cream sandwiches to the guests at Puesta del Sol before pushing his cart to our beach. Not wanting to disappoint me again, he returned with a bigger supply.

“You are an angel,” I said gleefully. “Yes, I am,” he responded. Then, he pulled out his wallet to show me his cedula (ID card). Proudly, he showed me the first name printed on his laminated ID: Angel.

The golden moments in the stream of life pass by us in a blur. In that one golden moment, I saw beyond the sand.  Five tinkling copper bells signaled the arrival of my Angel. Nibbling at the edges of my ice cream sandwich, I learned that it’s the simple pleasures in life that call forth the angels.