When I was very little, my mom and I lived with my grandparents in a town on the Mississippi River called Quincy, Illinois. Actually, my grandma, my mom and I were all born in Quincy. My mother was young when I was born, only 19, so while she finished college and got her teaching certificate, we all lived together in my grandparents’ big old house. It was great.
We moved to a town about 90 minutes away when I was four years old. My mom had gotten her first teaching job – 5th grade reading – and it was time for us to have our own apartment and our own lives. Once we’d moved away from Quincy, a feeling of devastating sadness would wash over me every time we said goodbye to my grandparents, whether we were visiting them or they were visiting us. I would sob. I’m talking gut-wrenching, lung compromising sobs. I hated leaving them, specifically her. My grandma was my best friend when I was little. We did everything together.
Wow, this got off track. Save it for the mini-series, right? I’d started out wanting to tell you that when we lived in Quincy, my two favorite fast food joints (besides some local places you’ve never heard of) were Wendy’s (shout out to Chris Griggs!) and Dairy Queen. In fact, rumor has it that my mom had a cherry flavored Mister Misty from Dairy Queen the night before I was born.
My grandfather always used to take me to Dairy Queen to get Butterfinger Blizzards, which are to die for, and they remain one of my favorite treats ever. But when I wasn’t visiting the Dairy Queen with my grandpa, I’d get one of their famous chocolate dipped vanilla cones. I can remember waiting patiently, my sneakers sticking to the orange tiled floor, while the teenager behind the counter dipped my cone into that gooey chocolate.
Yesterday, on an afternoon break at the desk job, I took a walk down 5th Avenue, found myself a Mister Softee truck, and ordered myself a chocolate dipped cone. The guy gave me a deal, asking me if I worked in the neighborhood and nodding to the line of tourists behind me, indicating that he had to charge them the higher price but for a local, he couldn’t bear to do it.
I was so pleased to be standing there with my chocolate dipped cone. I had to show great restraint to snap a photo before I took a gleeful bite.
It was very yummy and I reminisced about trips to Dairy Queen while I ate it. Here’s a shot of it mostly eaten (with one of those awesome Party Rental trucks with the big pig on it in the background). This treat wasn’t very filling like my cone from Blue Marble on Monday had been, which leads me to believe that Mister Softee is not really ice cream at all, but more likely some kind of frozen chemically milky type substance. Yikes. It’s definitely not “real” food. But oh well. It was delicious and a few chemicals every once in a while are probably good for the immune system. And memories of favorite childhood sweets and favorite all-time relatives are always good for the immune system.