Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day. My Mom and I went to lunch and then we played two games of cards. Next, I suggested a drive and the two of us toured around town and then out in the country. There were cows, plowed fields, clusters of trees, more fields and cows, and a lake every half mile or so.
We topped off the drive with a Dairy Queen.
The “new” Dairy Queen in my small hometown was built about two decades ago. It has a drive-through or you can eat inside.
When I was growing up, the original DQ was located on the the other side of town, within walking distance of my house. My sisters and I were Dairy Queen regulars almost every day during the summer.
Housed in a small, white building with only walk-up service, the old Dairy Queen didn’t even have tables or chairs. I guess we just got our treat and then headed on home or maybe we sat on the pavement. Not classy, but always tasty.
I think I was about eight when the DQ was purchased by the parents of my friend Sara. Sara had 12 brothers and sisters and they all worked at the Dairy Queen at one time or another.
Whenever I think of my childhood friend and her family’s Dairy Queen, it reminds me of the summer what I like to call, “The Candy Caper.”
Growing up, my family had a succession of black labs. One of the dogs, Candy, was a wanderer. Since most people don’t have fences here, Candy was libel to take off and be gone most of the day. Returning around suppertime, I longed to know where she had been and what she’d been doing. If only she could talk!
One afternoon we learned where Candy was spending a good deal of her summer afternoon.
My mom was driving me downtown to go shopping. As we turned the corner onto Main Street, we spied a familiar-looking black dog in front of the DQ.
We stopped the car, gave a whistle and Candy came running.
A week later, I was in the car with my dad and the same thing happened. Rounding the corner, there was our sweet doggie, mingling with the crowd at the Dairy Queen. Not nearly as understanding as my mom, dad loudly scolded Candy and immediately returned home to pen her in the back yard.
When we spied Candy at the DQ a third time, we knew we had trouble.
Upon investigation, my Dad learned that Sara and her siblings had taken to feeding Candy some tasty dairy treats. The kids thought it was funny at first.
Candy would sit patiently. Cocking her head and whining slightly, she would beg for a Dairy Queen. However, when this tactic stopped working, she evidently began taking matters into her own paws. By golly, that pup knew what she wanted and she was going to get it.
Sarah and her siblings told us Candy would wait quietly until she saw a small child holding a cone, and then she would nudge her way over to the kid. Ever-so-delicately Candy would lean back on her two hind legs, stretch up and before you could say, “Labradors Rock,” she’d eat the top clean off the cone.
Everyone knows the curly Q at the top of the cone is best part, so the kid would immediately burst into tears. I would have, too.
Parents were obviously not happy and our sweet dog was getting a reputation.
Thus began the long summer of “The Candy Caper.” Dad made us keep Candy in the house or in her backyard pen. However, she had to be freed several times a day to be fed or to use her bathroom area in the field behind our house. Consequently, if we were not careful (and often we were not), she’d be gone in a flash.
Then, we’d have to head to the DQ to retrieve her.
My parents were both fed up with the situation, but finally fall arrived and the Dairy Queen closed for the season. By the next spring, Candy had pretty much forgotten about the DQ.
It seems she had discovered Bob’s, a corner store just two blocks from our house, where they served a three-decker ice cream cone for only 15 cents.