Friday, July 25, 2008
I scream, you scream, we all scream...
I have a vague memory of riding on the back of my mother's bicycle in a hard plastic seat that mounted behind hers. I was probably 3 or 4 and she would pedal us to the Dairy Queen in Sheboygan, WI--a walk-up Dairy Queen surrounded by sticky picnic tables settled atop blacktop and swarming with wasps. The sultry sugar smell drew us in line in front of slatted screened windows through which we would place our orders.
I remember studying the signs--Buster Brown, Dilly Bars, Sundae, Dip Cone. Which delectable concoction to taste? The decision was always overwhelming--even today I find myself hesitating over the menu--would an Oreo cookie Blizzard be better than the Heath Bar?
Most times I'd opt for a dip cone and spiral it inside of my mouth trying to replicate the iconic DQ curl of soft serve that topped each dairy treat. Nothing was finer than riding our bikes up to Dairy Queen. Time passed and I rode my own bike behind my mother--a powder blue Spider with a white basket festooned with plastic flowers. I'd choose the cherry Dilly Bar as a bigger girl, now able to eat it all by myself.
My family firmly believed in the ice cream treat. We got treated after passing swim lessons, after dance recitals, and after good report cards. Ice cream was a constant in our lives regardless of where we lived.
Time passed and we moved, and moved again, and moved twice more. Each time we moved, we found the ice cream just like the wasps did and we continued our regular jaunts for frozen sugar from the Big T in Thermopolis, Wyoming to Hansen's in DePere, Wisconsin. While in high school I landed a dream job as a scooper in an ice cream parlor. A summer job surrounded by 36 flavors of ice cream, no soft serve, thank you very much. In fits of gluttony I tasted every single flavor, including Rum Raisin (ick). I ate ice cream for 2 meals a day and my favorites changed from Tin Roof Sundae to Praline Pecan and then Mackinac Island Fudge. On Tuesday nights my best friend and I would go to the movie showing downtown and head over to our town's Dairy Queen afterward to split a large Oreo Blizzard. Like the wasps, teenagers hovered around the Dairy Queen.
Last weekend Mr. D and I loaded up Team Testosterone to head to the Dairy Queen in the town up the road. My mouth watered with anticipation--a Blizzard this time, definitely a Blizzard. The boys chattered about what flavor milkshake they'd choose. We pointed out the landmarks on 10 minute drive--the golf course, the dairy farm, the big pond with the rowboat. Then the supper club, cemetery, the city limits. Mr. D drove the Momvan around the corner and the Dairy Queen looked suspiciously silent. No sign advertised a special. No cars were parked in the lot. We pulled up and read the handprinted sign on the door: Closed 'till further notice.
Only one thing to be done: keep driving until we find another ice cream store.
So reader, Dilly Bar or sundae? Twist cone or milkshake? What's your poison when you pull up to the ice cream stand?