Strange, is it not, how a simple drive to the grocery store can recall the oddest memories.
Some would say I have a long memory for the trivial, and to those people I would say "Remember that time you scratched my wrist with a stick AND hit my pelvic bone with your head while on the trampoline on the SAME DAY? Why yes, that was 10 years ago, but what's your point?"
Today while driving a stretch of road to one of the cheaper grocery stores, I happened to pass by a Dairy Queen tucked between the Fas Mart convenience store and Chala's Resale Shop. Neither of the other two stores mean anything to me, but for whatever reason the Dairy Queen caused a synapse to fire in my brain and remind me that when Bizarro Dad and I were first married, I used to drive his mother around, and she'd tell me stories about her family's life.
Once, when we passed the DQ in question, she was in the process of telling me the tale of how her other other son's girlfriend came to live with them. Apparently Girlfriend's parents were from Mexico, and as such had different beliefs about disciplining children than we do here in the US. They believed that it was the responsibility of the oldest son to provide the guidance and punishment for the younger children. This did not result in leniency, or even in gentle but firm guidelines, I'm sad to say. Instead, Girlfriend was beaten black and blue by her brother (probably for getting pregnant), and the parents condoned it completely. My mother-in-law did not feel this was a safe environment, and allowed Girlfriend to move in with her and the rest of the family. Sadly, her stay was not permanent, as Girlfriend proved to be every bit as violent as her brother and tried to attack a member of the family.
Yeah, I got all this from a Dairy Queen.
Oddly enough, driving down the same stretch of road on the return trip brought back different memories of the same person. On the opposite side of the street there's a Shipley's Donuts (the most awesome doughnut chain in the world, screw you Krispy Kreme). This reminded me of the story in which my then-pregnant mother-in-law had a fitful craving for doughnuts, and sent her husband and 11-year-old son (Bizarro Dad back when he was Bizarro Boy) out to retrieve the desired pastry in the dark at some ungodly hour. To Shipley's they went, because they knew that no other place in town would have decent doughnuts that would satisfy the demands of a pregnant woman. Poor Bizarro Boy, having to tap on the glass and hope the shop was open. But then, he was the only child in the house who was excited about the new baby, so it seems fitting that he'd be the one to go out for comfort food.
My mother-in-law tells the best stories.
I really shouldn't drive down that street to often. You should hear the stuff that flits through my brain the further west I go. We're talking junior high boyfriend, summer job, and that time my grandma got held at gunpoint by a mugger, only to grab him by the throat and flag down a passing cop. (She won't eat at that restaurant anymore, since none of the staff bothered to come outside and see why a strange man was pressing up against the little old lady who regularly came alone or with her husband.)