Thursday, November 02, 2017

DQ and nostalgia

When I was about twelve, my mom took me to buy a new dog, the collie I’d longed for ever since reading Albert Payson Terhune. My memory is not clear, but I know we went to a kennel in the country (maybe even Indiana from Chicago), and I clearly remember we stopped at a Dairy Queen and I had my first Soft-Serv. I thought it was wonderful. We went on and got an adorable pup. Mom was horrified that the kennel owners said they didn’t feed on Sundays—they didn’t do any of their other chores, so they didn’t feed the dogs. Poor dogs. Sophie would never stand for that. Mom’s gone now, so I can’t ask her why we named that sweet puppy Sister, but we did, and she was the delight of my folks’ life in retirement, long after I had left home and moved on.

But DQ, not dogs, is my subject tonight. When I left home, I lived in a small college town in Missouri, and I remember we were delighted when a DQ came to the outskirts of town. We went not just for Soft-Serv but for hamburgers when we couldn’t afford anything better. I have wonderful memories of visits to the DQ.

Now a major DQ franchisee is closing several stores, I think twenty in small Texas towns. It makes me sad. Oh, I know those towns have What-a-Burger and maybe even Chick-Fil-A, but it’s like another chink in the passing of a way of life. I didn’t want to live in a small town, but I enjoyed it while I was there, and I hate to see towns across Texas change. Maybe it’s inevitable, and my sadness is yet another sign of aging. The franchisee blames it on poor oil prices, because the sites are in oil country. Who knows?

I think I’d like a Soft-Serve cone right now!

There are other things I regret as I age. Cursive handwriting is one of them. My summer campaign to get Jacob and his cousin writing and reading cursive faded to naught, and once school started there was no parental concern.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic tonight, but I even had a throw-back-in-time supper. My mom fixed a lot of things on toast—asparagus, mushrooms, never beans which I understand is a Texas thing. I think vegetables on toast is quite British, so it would make sense that my German mom fixed it to please my Canadian father, who was very much an Anglophile.

Anyway, tonight I had mushrooms sautéed in butter, with a shake of garlic powder, a few drops of Worcestershire, and a splash of white wine. Put them on toasted sourdough bread—so good I was too full to eat the leftover beet salad from last night. But it made me think of my mom.

Nostalgia is, I think, a good thing. It reminds us of the richness of our lives.

So pleasant out tonight that Jordan and I sat on the patio with wine and had a good visit. Not exactly nostalgic, but still treasured.


Victor Wadsworth said...

The Hickies owned both DQ's in Mineral Wells for several years, mom went to school with them and they are related to the wealthy Pratt family in Mineral Wells. Good people, I can remember going on a date at the Grand theater, "The Way We Were" was showing and the couple were there. Our family used both for years, the ice cream the best. I loved those thick golden onion rings and foot long chili dogs, Dairy Queen was an American meeting place, the spot where people meet.

Judy Alter said...

You're right, Victor. It was an institution.