BEST BLAST FROM THE PAST Miami 2004 - Hialeah Dairy Queen
You're sixteen. You slip on your best bell-bottom pants and hop in your '67 Malibu. You pick up your date, hit Burger King for dinner, and head to the drive-in theater for a double feature (one monster movie, the other a bikini fest sans plot). Then you roll into your neighborhood Dairy Queen (every neighborhood has one) for a nightcap. You buy a couple of cones dipped in that quick-hardening chocolate, sit on the hood of your Chevy, admire the starry night, say something to schoolmates as they arrive, and go home by curfew with white stuff at the corners of your mouth, a drop or two on your cheeks or chin. Ah. Now fast-forward to 2004. You're old and tired, feeling nostalgic, still availed of a sweet tooth. This plastered two-window shack features a pair of picnic tables (stone with tile inlay) and not much else (no personal pizzas or hamburgers like at modern DQs), which is why it takes you right back to the days of K.C. and Colt 45 malt liquor. In fact the lever from which Mary Rauls squeezes heaps of manna (vanilla, chocolate) is attached to the same machines installed for the 1956 grand opening. Two little windows, a nice woman, and an array of ice cream concoctions (plus that gushy drink called a Misty) transport you to your glory days as the sugary goo drips from the cone. Young again, in a better Miami. Then you discover that this holdout is well into the permit process for the addition of a drive-through window and your last illusion dies.