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.