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Today I took a trip down to Fort Hood to visit one of my best and closest friends.  I left at about 7:15 and was excited to head southbound on 35 for the first time in a long time!  I’ve made this trip many times before…countless times.  35 is the main highway from Dallas/Ft Worth to Austin so, I can’t imagine how many hours I’ve spent driving or stuck in traffic inbetween.

I had a great visit with Kristen and her beautiful daughter, Bella.  Bella turns one year old in December and it is amazing to see how quickly she’s growing and learning!  She is honestly the happiest baby I’ve ever met.  We had lunch and got pedicures…it was definitely needed.  This whole little day trip was needed.

The second I got onto the open road, I turned up the radio and started singing.  It’s such a therapeutic trip.  It brought back memories and made me feel young (like 20).  I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite I35 stories with you all…

I don’t remember the occasion, but Holly (my college roommate) and I had decided to come home.  We had our “going home” routine down pat.  It usually consisted of throwing all of our dirty clothes into laundry baskets, piling shoes on top of that and throwing the baskets into the backseat.  We would gather all of our CD’s (this was before ipods…imagine) and hop into Holly’s silver, 2-door, Honda Civic.

Just North of Austin, there was this McDonalds billboard.  This was not your typical billboard.  It was a cutout of french fries.  The sign was old and faded, but it certainly got our attention.  We never missed that sign and always commented on how well that marketing worked, but we never (not once) stopped for fries, which was shocking considering how “hungry” we were.

We blasted music the whole way.  We were always listening to Bob Marley, Incubus or Blue October.  Holly would try to expand my horizons with some new songs here and there, but those were the staples.  We made up games that I can’t even begin to explain.  They always involved questions like, “would you date that cloud/tree/sign?”  We talked about creating an application for new friends that would require them to have a trampoline or access to Oprah.  We discussed world peace and solved that problem once or twice.  I know…it totally doesn’t make sense, but we would laugh until it hurt so bad we would cry.

Anyway, on this particular trip, we decided that we wanted a blizzard from Dairy Queen.  There are almost as many DQ’s as there are cows on I35 so we wanted our blizzard to be from a good Dairy Queen.  What better place to stop than West, Texas?!?!  Yes, the city of West in central Texas.  It was so funny to us.  We couldn’t resist.

Now, West is a once exit town that doesn’t have a traffic light.  We pulled off on exit 353 and pulled into the DQ parking lot.  Like most DQ’s, this one was old.  We pulled up to the order board and waited.  We waited and waited and waited.  After 5 minutes, we worried that it was broken.  After 10 minutes, we were sure that the employees were inside laughing at us.  Nothing ever happened. After 15 minutes, we pulled ahead to the window where they normally give you your food and a teenage boy took our order.  We were dying laughing that we had just sat at an order board for that long.  We ordered our blizzards and as we waited we talked about the best part of a Dairy Queen blizzard: as they hand it to you, they turn it upside down to show how thick it is.  We couldn’t wait.

After a few short minutes, the drive-thru window opened and the teenage boy did not disappoint.  He flipped those blizzards upside down and handed them to us with a smile.  I heard him say something and then I heard Holly say enthusiastically, “Well, peace and happiness to you too sir!”  And we drove off into sunset…or just back onto 35 North.

I was so confused.  Did this teenaged boy working at a Dairy Queen in West, Texas really send us on our way by saying “peace and happiness?”

After two seconds, it hit me.  He had asked if we wanted any napkins.  I honestly have never laughed harder in my life.  Well, there might have been one time, but I was driving south on 35 that time and there were carpet fibers involved.

Oh, I35, thanks for keeping me young!

Blessings.

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