My favorite breakfast is sausage and biscuits. What most people probably don't know, though, is that I rarely ate breakfast in high school because my parents had me on a constant diet. Every mouthful of food I ate was measured and controlled, unless I was on a school trip. Every once in a very great while, Mom would take us to school instead of forcing us to ride the bus. Even more infrequently, I could put the con on her to buy me something to eat at what eventually evolved into the local Dairy Queen.
Early this morning, the DQ burned to the ground.
In a tiny town like ours, the opening of a fast food place is a biiiig deal, and no offense to anyone who has ever worked there past or present, if I'd had a choice of which restaurant to burn down, I would've picked Pizza Hut...ask me if you really want to know, but I'm not getting into that right now. Our very first fast food chain was Lee's Famous Recipe, a fried chicken place. Second was the lovely Pizza Hut (grrr). Third was Burger Queen, which in its third incarnation became the Dairy Queen. McDonald's hasn't been there all that long, and Snappy Tomato Pizza is the newest chain in town.
There's this longstanding tradition in Smalltownland of bringing home your wayward college-age kid and putting them to work in fast food to meditate on the sins of bad grades (xref:Pizza Hut)- thus my sister did her time at Dairy Queen as an Ice Cream Girl. She has a lot of great stories, most of which I shouldn't post in a public forum, although the autistic boy who called our dad a tightwad is probably the best. That, and the one about learning to do the trademarked soft-serve cone shape- which would probably result in a sexual harrassment suit nowadays.
When I was working at the nearby Baptist college and living at home, I would streak out of the house for work with my mother yelling, "But you didn't EAT anything!" It was one of my little rebellions against being back in the fold that I'd stop at Dairy Queen for breakfast on the way out of town. My best friend's husband, who is a North Carolinian, praised the DQ's coffee when they were in town over Christmas. His wife's first job was at that very restaurant; I remember how much she hated having to clean the grease traps on the fryers.
We all have a lot of memories tied up in the place. It was where the old folks gathered to gossip and drink coffee. It was just down the block from one of the two funeral homes, so it's where you took the kids when they got punchy from five hours of meet-and-greet in front of Papaw's casket. It's where the marquee broadcast good fortune to the various school clubs, teams, and the band. It's where we always stopped for lunch on our whirlwind day-long Christmas concert tour of all the elementary schools every winter.
I've heard already that they'll rebuild, but it will be a Dairy Queen for a new generation. Everything changes, right? I'm not sure I was ready for this one.