When I lived there, Linden had 2,000 people and one stoplight and only two official hangouts I was privy to: the Country Store and the Dairy Queen. This is about the Dairy Queen.
The Dairy Queen sold fried steak baskets with fries and gravy and a heartstopper called the DQ Dude which was a fried steak sandwich on two fat butter-laden pieces of bread slathered with mayonnaise. I'm almost positive the side dish was a coffee-can of bacon fat with a straw. My friend Lauren and I would beg for our parents to bring one to us while we were stuck at the daycare, trying to weasel our way out of eating string beans the consistency of cornmeal mush and overcooked macaroni noodles. I divided my fries into even numbers and dipped every other one in the DQ's peppered white gravy and tried to chew each one the same number of times as the last one, an early sign of the OCD nature that would get me my PhD.
Later, it'd be the place where this neighbor kid keyed my shiny blue sports car with 4 round bugeyed headlights for no apparent reason. This same kid spent almost every balmy summer night with me and Bobby on our deck listening to Weird Al tapes and eating Doritoes until the powdered cheese was so caked on our fingertips that we'd have to scrape it off with our front teeth. By day, he'd knock down forts we'd built together and attempt to tear up my family's swimming pool while we weren't home but I could never figure out why until someone told me he loved me. I stand by my own hypothesis that he must have been bipolar but, then, who could ever tell the difference?
Later I learned the Dairy Queen wasn't known so much for its food or vast parking lot full of teenagers but for the drug deals that went on in the kitchen. It's still open despite the fact that someone found a condom in his cheeseburger, sandwiched between two beef patties and a pool of greasy cheese. So much for the bucolic nature of the rural South, eh?