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.


annie said...

I am so glad you clarified where that name Ha-ta-ho might have come from. I would have been wondering about it! Our nearest DQ is 40 miles away. And now I have a craving for chicken tenders and a blizzard. Shame on you for messing with my head like that!

Cyn Huddleston said...

You should be proud of this. I can really hear your voice in it. So many good quotes, but especially this: "One great story after another walks in the door, heads for the ladies room then orders some tacos."

esperanza said...

Surely you knew I'd have something to say about this.

1. Your DQ has WiFi???? Y'all are waaaay more uptown than we.

2. Pretty sure I've been to the DQ in Post, but pretty sure I'm not interesting enough to appear in your novel.

Sorry to hear about DQ #4 and its associated church. Glad you had an escape, but I still bet you didn't talk about church bidness in the DQ.

Have I ever told you I went to college with a girl from Roby? Her name was Jennifer...Something. You know her? She'd be about 37 now. Long brown hair with a distinctive gray streak (yes, even at 18).

Our DQ is pretty grungy. I don't think I've ever eaten there. And I'm with you on soft-serve's texture issues.

spookyrach said...

ESPERANZA!!!!! Email me girl - you went to college with my best friend from high school!! (I hated it when she started dying that grey streak.)

spookyrach said...

Cyn - thanks for the compliment. ~huge grin~

Diane - come visit me and we can hang out in the DQ and text each other from opposite sides of the booth.

Lori said...

You got the DQ mojo going there..... that's a good one.
I like Ha Ha To..... what a name though.... beats Ho Ti Doe..... Let me not go there. That's a great list.

I do like DQ, I like the soft ice cream.... used to take the dogs there for ice cream when we lived on the farm.... was our family outing. :)

patti said...

There is a Dairy Queen in Governuer, NY, where the inventor of Life Savers was born. Our local equivalent of Dairy Queen is Tim Hortons. Love that place.