Friday, October 14, 2011

Six Places - Just Spaces, Few Faces

This week's prompt:  6 Places.  My six places are

all Dairy Queen.

1.  The Dairy Queen in Lockney.  It's the only restaurant open on Sundays.  If we plan on eating out after church on Sunday, we have to go home and collapse on the couch for a couple of hours first.  You can't wade through the blue-hairs to get a table until nearly 2:00 o'clock.  They have blizzards and WiFi.   They have the world's most polarific air conditioning system.  There are huge vents along the top of the wall.  The icy air they spew falls heavily on the chattering diners below.  Even when it's 134 thousand degrees outside, my knees knock the whole time I'm choking down my chicken strips and tator tots.  I don't yet know what happens in the winter.  Is the heater just as boisterously over-effective?  I'll soon find out. 

If it weren't for the frigidity, I'd hang out there, drinking cherry-limes and drawing pictures.

2.  The Dairy Queen in Post.  You are probably not aware of this, but this little fast-food joint in that wobbly little West Texas town is the epicenter of the six degrees which separate us all.  Everyone you've ever known will eventually have to stop there to use the bathroom.  It's one of those places - plunked down in the middle of nowhere on a back road that is the only way to get to some places from other places.  Everyone stops there.  Eventually.

If I were going to write the great American novel, I'd do it sitting in a booth in this Dairy Queen.  One great story after another walks in the door, heads for the ladies room then orders some tacos.  It's got this accidental, unintentional apocalyptic feel to it that makes you think you're missing something.  Something like the end of the world.  In Technicolor.  

3.  The Dairy Queen in Plainview.  This DQ was home to the Blizzard Boy.  Blizzard Boy was our secret nemesis long ago and far away when we were young and could eat a cup of ice cream blended with Butterfinger bars on a pretty much daily basis without the dire consequences to our waist lines and cholesterol levels.  He never got the order right or screwed up when trying to make change, or sometimes he just looked at us funny.

We toted the ice cream back to the office and sat around the conference table in the grand ballroom, dissing the Blizzard Boy and solving the county's problems.  It was like a drawly, cowboy-booted version of the Algonquin Round Table.  With soft serve instead of vodka. 

4.  The Dairy Queen in Brownfield.  Brownfield was the closest town to the country church where I lived in the early 1980's.  It was, to no one's surprise, dry and dusty and hot.  It was dead then and it's deader now.  At that church at the crossroads in the middle of Earth's armpit, the sand dunes piled high on the west side of the building and my brother and I tied towels around our necks for capes so we could jump off the roof of the sanctuary to practice flying.  And landing.  On our butts, mostly. 

It was at this crossroads church that I learned to appreciate open flame and weeping willows.  I learned to drive a tractor.  I developed what would become a lifelong distaste for lantanas and a morbid fascination with premillennialist baptistry paintings.  It was also a dark and destructive place that taught me to be spiteful towards family churches and suspicious of people who kept those religious malignancies alive.

My parents worked at that church because it was there.  We'd moved back to Texas from Montana so my dad could care for his ailing father after his mother died.  The church was a paycheck.  It seemed like a god-send at first. But in the end, it wasn't.

On Sunday nights after a day full of all that my parents could stomach, we would escape to the Dairy Queen in Brownfield.  A thirty-mile drive, one way, for nachos.  It was pretty much the only place open then.  It was a quiet place on Sunday nights.  And a little bit dark.

I still love nachos.

5.  The Ha-ta-ho in Roby.  Roby was too small to have a Dairy Queen.  I spent my high school years in Roby.  There were two restaurants in town - the Silver Spur Cafe and the Ha-ta-ho drive in.  They sat across from each other, separated by a rod-straight stretch of highway.  Local lore told that the burger joint was opened by a farmer who wanted to get out of the field.  He hated-to-hoe.


If you were inclined, you could skip the Ha-ta-ho and come on down the road to the City Grocery and Deli where I worked.  I would make you a chicken fried steak sandwich or a bbq sandwich. (Your choice of chopped or sliced.  Take my advice - go with the chopped.)  It was good enough food, but we didn't have fries.  Or fountain drinks.  Or chairs. 

I can't remember if the Ha-ta-ho had nachos.  They did have really good cokes, though. 

6.  The Dairy Queen in ?  I don't know where I'm going from here, but I'm going somewhere.  I bet wherever it is, they have a Dairy Queen.  It might surprise you to know, but I don't even really like Dairy Queen.  I hate soft-serve and only tolerate blizzards if they have something crunchy in them.  The burgers are ok and The Dude is pretty good.  The fries suck. 

I do like the nachos, though.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just for grins, because I don’t really know what this is.


Tonight I made the holy pilgrimage and left home

At twilight.

At sunset.

At the end of the day.

I walked down the street, through the bad part of town

At twilight.

At sunset.

At the end of the day.

A three-legged pit bull dog barked at me.  Only once.

At twilight.

At. sunset.

At the end of the day.

And I learned that those two lime green trailers really do glow

At twilight.

At sunset.

At the end of the day. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

7 wants

This week’s prompt?  Not getting any easier.  I really don’t know why these are so difficult.  Perhaps I really just need to sit down in a quiet place with pen and paper and work this out.  Hmm… That reminds me of something I want, so, without further ado: 

A.  I want to write.  With pen.  On paper.  I love the feel of a good pen flowing across the paper.  I love handwriting.  Drawing words is an almost Zen-like experience, as long as I’m writing something I want to write. I miss it.  Last week, while visiting Lois, I mentioned this.  She told me there have been studies done showing that handwriting uses a different part of your brain than keyboarding.  You write differently, on both a physiological level and otherwise, when you use pen and paper.  It’s a good change to make if you’re fighting writer’s block. 

I totally should have written this post on paper first.

B.  I want letters to make a comeback.  I know they won’t and I’ll be the first to admit that the convenience of email probably more than makes up for what we miss with written letters.  But still.  I love to write them.  Send me your address, if you want (Facebook message) and I’ll send you a letter!

C.  I want my nose to stop itching.  And they haven’t even started ginning cotton yet!  I used to live across the road from a corn field.  I’m terribly allergic to corn, especially when it puts on tassels right before harvest.  Not for that reason, we moved.  Now I live two blocks from a cotton gin, one of my other major allergies. 

Have I mentioned that I plan to retire to Seattle?

D.  I want Robert Downey Jr. to hurry the hell up with his next project.  Know what it is?  He is producing and staring in a Perry Mason movie.  I also am all geeked about seeing Johnny Depp do Dark Shadows.  And I want both of those franchises to use the theme music their TV versions used.  Perfect songs, both.  (I miss answering machines.  My answering machine message used to be accompanied by the Dark Shadows theme.  It was the best damn message ever – had a people call me just to listen sometimes.  Voice mail leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to creativity.)

E.  I want to get better at portrait photography.  I sort of enjoy it.  Sort of.  Most of the time, when I take pictures for fun, I don’t include people.  Not on purpose, but I’ve just always avoided people pictures.  But I think my taste might be changing…

F.  I want that sheriff’s deputy to quit staring at the stuff in my office.  I’m tired of trying to explain things to him. 

G.  I want to read a good comic book.  Read a good one and an incredible one last week.  The good one:  The Preacher #7.  It had all the elements of a good comic – expressive art, great colors, kick-ass story, tons of violence and more than a bit of gratuitous sex and gore.  (Yes, it really is about a preacher.  From west Texas.  Somewhat defrocked.)   The great one was Persepolis.  It was exquisite.  Lois had it and I sat down one night and read the whole thing (graphic novel) in about 2 hours.  I learned all kinds of things.  The art was simple on the surface, rich beneath.  The story was incredible – about a young girl in Iran during the fall of the Shaw.  She’d be about my age, I guess.  The writing was simple, but like the art, deceptively so.  Hell, the damn thing made me get all teary-eyed. 

Just go read it for your own damn self.