I was talking with colleagues the other night about night-time rituals as a youngster.
We were sweltering in the heat at Carondelet Park, and we were watching the children (two aged 6 years, one 4 years) run and play and overheat and not worry about it.
Then came the stories of our own childhoods.
Hannibal, Missouri. I was 7 or 8 years old. After supper, we’d go back outside to play; our house had no air-conditioning, so outdoors was at least as cool as indoors. Sometime around dusk the mosquito control truck, belching fog to kill the varmints, would be spotted down College Avenue, heading our direction. We pack up and go indoors quickly.
I would take a bath in the upstairs bathroom. My sisters shared a bath in the downstairs bathroom. We’d crawl into pajamas. And then we’d bundle into the car for a trip to Dairy Queen, almost every night.
Imagine — freshly bathed children, in pajamas, just waiting to get sticky Dairy Queen goodness all over us.
My order was a Mr. Misty, cherry flavored. Brain cramps would ensue. Karen would order a Dilly Bar. And youngest sister Beth, not yet fluent in English, would order “a ‘poon with a dish.” (Translation: a dish of ice cream with a spoon.) And we’d sit there at Dairy Queen and have our treats, or sometimes drive up the main road to the riverfront and watch the Mississippi go by.
We followed the same tradition in Lee’s Summit, as I recall. Living in a subdivision with constant construction made for ample opportunities for me to get dirty. And of course a ten-year-old on a bike can always get sweaty too, especially in summer-in-Missouri heat. The Lee’s Summit house only had one bathtub, though, so I have no idea how we all got cleaned up and ready to hop in the car, clad in pajamas, for the trip across Langsford Road and then 3rd Street to the Dairy Queen on Douglas.
I’ve not had a Mr. Misty in years. I think I shall have one this week.