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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Blizzard Season

I grew up in a small town, and Dairy Queen was really the only food establishment we had. This explains why I continue to have more affection for Dairy Queen, even in my adult life, than the average person. Dilly Bars, dipped cones, Peanut Buster Parfaits, and, of course, Blizzards. One of my favorite lines (yes, authors have favorite lines) in my most recent book is when I say that employees will work harder if companies install a Dairy Queen Blizzard machine in the break room. I was kidding, but only kind of.

The Dairy Queen closest to me now isn't located in a place that I have much (or any) frequency to be, so Blizzards are few and far between these days. But last week I made a point to drive over and order one to kick off the summer. Aside from the fact that my go-to favorite flavor doesn't appear to be on the menu any longer (sometimes life seems like a series of things we grow attached to that we must inevitably find ways to live without when they are discontinued), it was as delicious as I remember.

Nostalgic, too. Clearly. It's worth noting that there is no longer a Dairy Queen in my hometown. After some franchise dispute about fry sauce (or so I heard), it was replaced by another establishment. I still think of it as there though, and every time I'm at home looking over at the little building hanging over the creek, literally supported by a rather precarious configuration stilts that struck me as questionable even 30 years ago, I smile. And immediately crave some ice cream. Happy summer to you all! May yours include a vacation, a couple of fabulous beach reads, and all the ice cream you can justify consuming.


Fireworks: Musings on a Small Town


This is just a firework, and a mediocre one at that, but it's a firework that was set off in my hometown, above the baseball fields in the town park. Other than Christmas, I go home so seldom that I think this past weekend may have been the first time in over a dozen years that I was around for the annual summer festival.

It's comforting, going home. You know where everything is, for a few days you feel as young as you did while living there, and that so much seems exactly the same is a great constant amidst the fluctuations fast enveloping all other aspects of your life. But even as I walked through the booths at the small festival thinking that everything--the layout, the goods, the pre-fireworks exploding anvil--was identical to when I was a teenager and taking some comfort in that, it was also a teensy bit alarming to realize how much about this trip was, in fact, different. The golf course has been renamed. To something totally ridiculous, by the way. The Dairy Queen is about to be replaced by another franchise; some dispute over fry sauce. And when I attended my old church congregation, I saw a sea of mostly strangers. It felt weird to introduce myself. "I grew up here," I said, as if I were reaching for some kind of justification for being there at all.

It's just the way of things, I suppose. You never forget or feel less endeared to a place, but the connections you have there grow thin when you move away and never come back. Writing books about the people you grew up with doesn't really help your cause either, but I've made my choices, I suppose. I guess I just wish I chose home more often. It's hard to find good fry sauce.