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Sunday evening, my husband and I went to Dairy Queen and I ordered what I always order: the Peanut Buster Parfait. I've loved them for as long as I can remember, but this time, the order was different. This order brought back a flood of memories.
When I was a kid, I spent almost every summer visiting my paternal grandparents and cousins in Missouri. My cousins and I would ride bikes, go swimming, fish, run and do all things kid-like, with no concept of time or responsibility. One summer, I had to borrow my cousin David's bicycle and took a rather dramatic spill while riding around with another cousin, Steven. I scraped my entire right thigh on a gravel road, and Steven helped me to my Aunt Bea's house so she could "fix me up."
Aunt Bea was a trip. It was from her that I learned about the Daughters of the American Revolution (she was a lifetime member) and a little history on our family's role in the founding of this country. She was always very kind to a precocious city girl, giving hugs and cookies in equal order.
At least twice a week, Grandpa would take me, and sometimes my cousins Laura and Beth to Dairy Queen. And I would order a Peanut Buster Parfait. It didn't matter what anyone else was having-that's what I wanted every time. When it was just us two, Grandpa and I would talk about what we'd done that day and what we were going to do the next. On a normal day, we went fishing or I helped him garden. On special days, I got to sit in the governor's chair or meet George Brett and the manager of the Kansas City Royals.
On one very special day, Grandma, Grandpa and I headed to Arrow Rock to watch the filming of the movie "Tom Sawyer." Sucking on rock candy, I wandered past Johnny Whittaker and Celeste Holm, amazed at how complicated it all looked. Arrow Rock will always be one of my favorite places in the world.
We had a membership to the Harrisonville Country Club, and Beth and I spent many extremely hot afternoons lounging in and by the pool. Neither of us had any concept of skin cancer or sun damage, which was made evident by the baby oil mixed with iodine we slathered all over ourselves. Some evenings, we were taken to Stephenson's Apple Farm, an occasion for which proper attire was required. Laura would wear a dress while Beth and I, the eternal tomboys would not. It was slacks for the two short haired wonder girls, thank you very much.
So, Sunday evening as I tried not to devour my Peanut Buster Parfait in record time, I remembered my childhood in Missouri. And I remembered my grandparents, George and Elinor. I remembered my great aunt Emily, Grandma's twin sister. I remembered my cousins Steven, Beth, Laura, David (RIP), Sarah and Brian. I remembered, a little misty-eyed, sitting on a bench outside a Dairy Queen, listening to a man I loved so very much tell me how wonderful it was spending time with me.
All in all, I had a pretty good childhood, when I really look back. No, it wasn't perfect, and yes, my adolescence through my late thirties was an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But in the grand scheme of things, spending time with cousins I considered my best friends, a grandmother who thought I was the moon and the stars and a grandfather who spoke my name with pride when he introduced me to the governor of Missouri gave me some wonderful memories to enjoy the next time I find myself eating a Peanut Buster Parfait.
My grandfather, George Brock.