The Dairy Queen


I went to college in a town that was an eight hour drive from home (In a Pinto. In a Pinto without an air conditioner. But that’s another topic). A drive that long required several restroom breaks, and small town Dairy Queens were the preferred place to stop. We’d skip the one in Post, as it was only 45 minutes away, but Sweetwater, Abilene, Eastland, Dublin, Hico, Meridian, Waco, Hearne, all the way to College Station – we knew ’em all. Of course, protocol demanded (Yes! Demanded. Protocol doesn’t “suggest.”) that we make a purchase when we stopped. So we’d get a Coke (in the vernacular, “Coke” referenced any carbonated beverage), thus ensuring yet another stop at another Dairy Queen somewhere further down the road.

But they weren’t there just for travelers. Dairy Queens were popular with residents in those little towns we drove through. The Rotary Club might meet there, or the Lions. Most teenagers worked there, and all of them hung out there. Families went there after church, or before a football game. The DQs would be decorated in the school colors, with mascot names painted on the windows. They were so much a part of town it was hard to imagine that someday they’d disappear.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic that’s got some photographs of Texas Dairy Queens.

This one, though, has gone away. It won’t return. You can tell by looking.

Earth, Texas
photographed 5.24.2013

Posted on June 18, 2013, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Don’t forget the wonderful vinyl seats in that Pinto. They were so nice to seat on in August after those Dairy Queen stops. There’s not much of anything left in Earth is there?


  2. When I was working I was once on a three member team that had our weekly meetings at a nearby Dairy Queen in the afternoon. That’s the only part of working that I actually miss. Now I want a Blizzard!!!
    Oh, great photo, too.


  3. I love your title! And the photo too. That 9 Feet sign is so well placed, and exposed.


    • Thanks, Ehpem. If I were a sociologist, I might wonder about the way Dairy Queens – where everyone went inside and shared the space and maybe, even, a table – are being replaced by Sonic Drive-Ins – where everyone just stays in their cars. And I might wonder about what that says about us.

      But I am not a sociologist, so that sort of stuff never crosses my mind.


      • Good thing too. You need to keep space in your mind for observing the fall of shadows across buildings.
        But, maybe you can shoot the outside of drive-throughs with people leaning from cars to grab bags of “food” – shadows only mind you.


    • Ohh…I get it. “I love your title” was just an extremely polite way of saying, “Hey, you spelled something wrong!” It’s fixed now!


      • Hey! Not polite at all. I thought it was on purpose, that Diary was in reference to the reminiscences in the post. It was a perfect misspelling.

        I did think about whether it was a mistake, but knowing your love for, and way with, word I figured it was deliberate, and clever. The only doubt came from a typo in the text – can’t remember exactly what now, a misplaced ‘at’ or other short word like that. You probably have spotted and corrected it too.


      • Here’s what happened – I’ve got these posts scheduled pretty far in advance, so I have time to edit them. Last night, I decided I didn’t like what I had scheduled for today, so I made a last-minute substitution. So it was edited as closely as I like. And that “perfect misspelling” was there. (And so was the errant “at” which I only now spotted, and fixed.)

        Now, I think I’d better look at tomorrow’s post, just to make sure it’s all correct…


      • I just found a couple of mistakes in my post of today. Sometimes I notice one from a year ago. I always fix them.


  4. Great photo as always and nice story .


  5. Wonderful story, and I love this photo!


  6. Wow, this was a large and elegant Dairy Queen.. I am impressed by its size.
    It is grand compared to my memories of Dairy Queens in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico 1960s to 70s.


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