Dairy Queen is the place to be…

The smell of waffle cones fills the air. It smells like Disneyland. Main Street, USA, to be precise. A father and daughter eat in silence. Well, the daughter eats. She puts a fry in her mouth. The father absent-mindedly pokes at his Blackberry. Then he folds his hands under his chin and listens to her tell a story. Then he entertains her, banging the ketchup on her tray. Somehow, this is funny.

A favorite spot among locals.

The fries taste bland. Not much salt, but still bad for you, nonetheless. “She said you’re doing a great job…the “k” in your name…” a mother says to her child. Apparently, he had trouble writing “k’s” before. “Beginning and middle,” his brother says. The sound of a blender goes off, as it’s been doing constantly. The mother of the two boys cuddles up to her husband, who is wearing an Oregon sweatshirt. The boy with the “k” in his name goes over to the bench where his mother is and lays down next to her. “Want a quick drink of water before we go?” she asks him. A groan escapes his lips. Perhaps he is sick. “Mama! I found the pumpkin!” one of them cries.

“You Belong with Me,” by Taylor Swift comes on the radio. The employees behind the counter sing along. “Order up!” someone calls from the back. A child in a Ducks jacket walks by the table and clearly tries to read the notebook sitting there. Good thing there’s nothing in it about him.

“They might see you! No, I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” a girl jokes with her friend about sitting by the window. For some reason, they are embarrassed. The father with the Blackberry stands up. He is wearing a red flannel shirt and pale blue, hibiscus-flower swim trunks. And sneakers.

A strange noise alerts several patrons of the diner that a high school football player is walking towards the line. The noise turns out to be his cleats, which he still has on. “I’ll be right with you guys,” says the girl behind the counter. “Where are we sitting at?” asks another football player. More continue to file in. Three of them try to play a prank on another by opening the bathroom door on him, but he is only washing his hands. He has a good sense of humor about it. “They’re all piling into the bathroom,” an older man says. Probably a parent or coach. “I like that idea – adults over here, kids…elsewhere,” another says.

The boy in the Ducks jacket is now at the front counter flipping through a book of cakes. The two men he’s with are discussing something in legal terms. No wonder he seems bored.

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