Back when I was in high school a friend of mine and I would occasionally stop by the Dairy Queen and get a mug of root beer. Back then you could get a big frosted mug of root beer for a quarter. Root beer came in glass mugs at the Dairy Queen back then, and when we were finished with them, the Dairy Queen would wash them and use them for the next customers and the customers after that. That was back when my grandkids tell me my generation was destroying the planet. Not like today when Dairy Queen root beer comes in plastic cups with plastic lids and plastic straws that are used to build plastic islands out in the middle of the ocean. Milk came in glass refillable bottles then, too, as well as most pop, and people would have laughed if you had tried to sell them water in a plastic bottle that became more building material for the islands, and each family had only one car, and most people had never flown on a fuel guzzling, carbon emitting airplane! Destroying the planet my— … But I digress.
We had a friend who worked at the Dairy Queen back then, and depending on how our friendship was doing, he would either pack the refillable glass mugs with so much crushed ice, we’d get maybe two tablespoons of root beer, or he would put in two tablespoons of ice and we would get twice as much root beer as was the norm. Having a friend at the Dairy Queen can be a blessing or a curse depending on how the friendship is going. I guess that applies to more than just root beer when it comes to friendships. We started asking for our root beer with no ice to take the power away from our friend, but the owner figured out quickly that we were getting fifty cents worth of root beer for a quarter and quickly put a stop to that.
Ice is a funny thing. It’s only real purposes are to cool things down, whether it be root beer or a rapidly swelling sprained ankle, and to provide a platform from which to ice fish. When I was a kid, I don’t remember putting ice in my drinks. I drank pop straight from the refillable glass bottle, and at meals our family drank a lot of milk. If we occasionally had Kool-Aid, we drank it neat, no ice. My wife, on the other hand, has an obsession with ice. Anything she drinks will have ice in it, even coffee. Our refrigerator once had a working automatic ice maker. As soon as the ice bin was full, my wife would dump it in a bag and store it in the freezer. We had bags and bags of ice hoarded in the freezer on the off-hand chance that if there was an apocalypse, we would be prepared. Maybe my wife planned on charging hundreds of dollars per cube and making a vast Bloomberg-type fortune. It didn’t happen.
Eventually the ice maker got tired of doing all that work for the little we were paying it. It went on intermittent strikes for a time and finally said to heck with it and outright quit. My wife had to make ice in trays by hand after that. She now just makes sure the ice bin is full, however we currently have six milk jugs of frozen water in the freezer just in case the coronavirus apocalypse thing actually happens. We may be sitting on a potential ice gold mind.
I’ve gotten a lot of good comments from people who have read my new novel, A Death in a Snowstorm, but not a lot of reviews. I see they have reduced the price of the paperback on Amazon, so those of you who were waiting for the sale, now is the time.