Before I knew of the solace of cheesecake, there was the single flavored mecca of Dairy Queen.
My Sunday memories included going to church where I spent an hour worried more about what Granny saw me doing than Jesus (her wrath was immediate and in this life, not the hereafter) and followed by a pilgrimage to Dairy Queen.
How he got stuck in his Sunday cone ritual, I will never know but it was something to look forward to every week.
“Why you gotta go Dairy Queen every cussed week, Bob?” Granny demanded once as she pointed the Oldsmobile in the direction of a dipped cone.
“’ Cause,” was my grandfather’s reply.
One Sunday, Granny did the unthinkable – she informed my grandfather she was not going to town for his cone.
I sat in the back seat and waited for the thunder to boom.
“What you mean, woman?”
“I mean, Bob, I got a roast on and I didn’t roll out my biscuits before we left this morning. I gotta get home and make my bread.”
To Granny, not having biscuits at Sunday dinner was as sacrilegious as someone wearing white shoes after Labor Day.
“So that means I can’t get my ice cream?” He was not following her line of logic here.
“That’s right, Bob.”
My grandfather grunted. “I’m getting an ice cream if it means stopping at The Store to get one.”
My grandmother, fresh from church and full of the Holy Spirit – and needing to make her biscuits – didn’t want to argue anymore, so she decided she would stop at The Store (that was the actual name of the store) and get Pop a sundae cone.
“It’s not the same,” he said between bites.
My pre-Sunday dinner ice cream was one of those banana and chocolate popsicles that looked and sounded in theory a lot better than it tasted.
Granny made her biscuits and after we ate, Pop got up from the table and announced he’d be waiting in the car.
“For what?” Granny asked.
“For you to take me to the Brazier, woman. I had that pitiful little gas station cone and you made your biscuits; now, we going to Dairy Queen!”
Not wanting to violate Sunday, Granny took us to get ice cream. Pop got his large dipped cone and I got a peanut buster parfait.
Getting ice cream wasn’t just our Sunday tradition, but was where we, along with 100’s of other people, headed after the fireworks on the Fourth of July every year.
After we had sat in the Bi-Lo parking lot for hours, waiting to see the revelry, we found ourselves grossly disappointed when they fizzled out in the sky in about 5 minutes.
“You mean we sat here for that, to now have to fight all these people through the drive thru?” was my grandfather’s complaint.
The line was long, too. It just about reached down to the parking lot we had left.
“Bob, you ain’t expecting me to sit in this line are you?”
“I sat through those pitiful excuses for fireworks. I am getting a cone.”
The following year, we just went to Dairy Queen; we were able to see the fireworks just as well and Pop was happy. Sitting in the parking lot meant he could go in and get another ice cream if he wanted it and he usually did.
Any of Pop’s directions out of town often involved us ending up at the ice cream restaurant.
“Robert,” Granny began. She was mad, really mad; she used his whole name.
“I thought you said you asked your friend for directions.”
“I did,” he answered, as she handed him his ice cream.
Apparently, Pop’s inquiry was how to get to his favorite place in this new town not get us to our destination. We were lost somewhere around Atlanta and it took us hours to get home.
However, we did know where every Dairy Queen was in about 12 counties.
To this day, nothing can give me the same comfort. It reminds me of my grandfather and my childhood, all at once, and a time when ice cream made everything better.
‘Cause all roads lead to ice cream, and if they don’t, they should.