In our family's vernacular the Hunky Man referred to the guy who sold Popsicles and ice cream from the truck that roamed neighborhoods in the summer. Little tinkly bells and music forewarned us kids playing in the yard that if we played our cards right, Mother would find the wherewithal in her change purse to spring for cool treats all 'round.
The truck usually made its appearance right after lunch or in the late afternoon (but well before dinner), and the system worked best if you had several kids in the yard - a couple to flag down the truck and a couple to run inside to get the dimes to pay for the luscious goodies.
Mr. Hunky Man would slow down as we waved our arms and jumped up and down, wildly gesturing that money would be forthcoming from right out that front door there - just wait! The tinkly music continued to pierce the air. Oh, the anticipation that music caused for a bunch of tired, dirty kids!
The inside crew would run into the house yelling, "The Hunky Man's here! The Hunky Man's here!" I don't recall a time that the dimes weren't scrounged up, so out we'd run with the coins in our hot little hands.
Then the real fun began. What to choose? What to choose? A banana Popsicle? A Push-Up? An Eskimo Pie? Fudgesicle? Dreamsicle? Ooh-ooh-ooh! Aaaaaaaahhhhh! Whatever we chose was always just the right thing for the moment. Then the Hunky Man would continue his slow drive through the rest of the neighborhood, where other children were waiting to flag him down.
Once we'd made our choices, we'd gather on the front porch or steps to unwrap the cold-delights and happily slurp ourselves into oblivion for a few minutes. No wonder our mothers didn't mind ponying up the cash. A little peace and quiet for a few minutes was worth the price of a few dimes.
We'd have to hose down afterwards, though - our bodies striped with trickles of chocolate or cherry or grape. And the tell-tale colored moustaches gave away what flavors we'd chosen for the afternoon.
So, where did the term "Hunky Man" come from? Who knows? I think an actual "hunky" was what my mother and her sisters called an Eskimo Pie, so maybe that's why they referred to the guy as the Hunky Man. Or maybe there was an ice cream brand called Hunky. Not sure. Or maybe they found the guy good looking and had us all fooled (thus, the term "hunky")! At any rate, it does seem to be a term peculiar to our family.
But man, oh man - was there anything so fine as that summertime tradition of flagging down the ice cream truck, making the decision about your treat for the day, and settling down with friends and family to indulge in a little sweet, cold goodness?
Or am I just showing my age?