A Lesson in Dagenham

Yesterday was Pentecost, the fiftieth day and when I went in the morning out the light and the temperature, and perhaps the smells of Spring brought a memory of long ago to my mind, so clearly and so sweetly. It was Whitsun 1965 and I stayed with a friend in Dagenham. On Whit Sunday we sold ice cream each with our own cart, knocking the suburb doors.

The streets of Dagenham were Sunday soft and there were enough trees and flowers in front gardens to smell of Spring, a hot Spring then, as Whitsun often brings.

At the end of the day my cart was empty except for three small vanilla ice creams but my satchel was full of money. I was approached by three rough looking youths, older and stronger than me. They asked for ice cream when I thought they would steal my satchel of money. They complained that I had run out of wafers, but bought the ice cream anyway, which was warmer than it should have been, and ate it complaining.

So I learned that not every rough youth was a thief and when you sell something you should make sure that you have want the customer wants.

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