Summer Fun Family Tradition For Longtime Tyler Ice Cream Man - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/13/03 - Tyler

Summer Fun Family Tradition For Longtime Tyler Ice Cream Man

On a hot East Texas Sunday, the sound of Joplin's "The Entertainer" slices through the air.

Ask any kid what that sound means, they'll tell you it means the ice cream man is here.

"That's what I want to be known as," Jeffery Sanders says from his ice cream truck. "It makes me proud because I can remember when my dad was known as the snow-cone man."

Sanders has been East Texas's ice cream man for more than twenty years, since he was twelve years old.

"We weren't able to drive," he explains, "so we worked the back of the truck and we made snow-cones."

He's still carrying on the family tradition, now riding the road with his own kids. Twelve year-old Jasmine runs the back of the truck while dad Jeffery drives.

"I learned the value of a dollar," he says. "that's what I learned, and that's what I want them to learn. My kids work this truck, that's the way I grew up, that's the way I made my school clothes money."

"It's the same to them."

Jeffery's been doing this so long, he's watched the kids on the corners grow up, and bring their own children back to his truck for a summer treat.

"Watching the expressions on the kids' faces when they buy an ice cream for the first time, that's my favorite part," he says. "It gives you a high, that you just can't describe it."

Jeffrey is the ice cream man at least six days a week during the summer. He rides at least four hours a day, and estimates he sees more than five hundred kids every weekday, with twice that many on the weekends. He grew up working the streets in his family's truck. Now, that's all he wants to do.

"People say I'm crazy, but my dream is to own a fleet of these ice cream trucks."

It's a job, but it's one he loves. Jeffrey says what kids say when they hear his tune makes it all worth it.

"Here comes K.J.'s ice cream," he says, laughing.

"I'm the ice cream man."

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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