Making the Grade: The Yard Milkshake Bar



As I’ve stated many times, I love Sweet Home Alabama dearly. However, there is one aspect of my home state, which I do not love: the searing, sizzling summer heat. (Remember, I love alliteration.) After all, melting onto the concrete when I go to pick up our mail is not fun.

  Also, I’m really amazed that when I was in single digits, my family and I lived in an un-air-conditioned house in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals); my parents had only a window fan. I guess I was young and just didn’t know any better.

  However, in the summer of 1971, my much older brothers Jim and Mike (I was only 8) worked at Wind Creek State Park and paid to have central air conditioning installed in our house. Jim said that they made $1.70 an hour and that the air conditioning cost $500, which was a lot of money in those days. In fact, it took my brothers a combined total of 294 hours to earn that much money. Believe me, that’s a gift that I really appreciated, and so did my parents.

  We did have to adjust to air conditioning, however. The man who installed the air conditioning set the thermostat to 72 degrees. Mama said, “That night, we all woke up because we were freezing.” Also, when I was a teenager, I was highly amused watching Mama and Daddy perform the “Thermostat Hustle.” Mama, being too hot, would sneak in the hallway and crank the thermostat to a cooler setting. Later, Daddy, who was thinking with his wallet, would go and turn the thermostat higher. This performance happened quite often in our household.

  In my humble opinion, air conditioning is one of the world’s greatest inventions. According to Google, “Willis Carrier invented the modern air conditioner in 1902.” In addition, “Frederick Jones invented the first portable air conditioning unit.”

  I truly am thankful for these two brilliant inventors. In fact, I’d be fine with the government setting aside two holidays to celebrate these two men and their inventions. Yes, they are that important to me.

  Recently, Mike and I found another way to fight the merciless summer heat. Last week, we visited The Yard Milkshake Bar at 147 N. College St. in Auburn.  

  When we entered the establishment, both Chelsea and Jean, who waited on us, were so friendly, helpful and patient. I loved the old ice cream parlor atmosphere and the Auburn decor. This place will be really popular when the students return to campus later this month.

  Mike ordered the Strawberry and Cream Cheesecake bowl, which had strawberry cheesecake ice cream topped with whipped cream, strawberry topping, crushed graham crackers and a slice of New York cheesecake. I chose the Old School Banana Split bowl, which had strawberry and banana pudding ice cream topped with whipped cream, strawberry topping, peanuts, chocolate drizzle, a cherry and a banana.

  Oh, my three times. Our desserts were cold, delicious, towering works of art and a great way to beat the heat.

  Believe it or not, I didn’t eat ALL of my dessert. I really didn’t want Mike to have to call an ambulance because I had gone into a diabetic coma. No, instead, Mike had my back and finished it for me.

  Besides our amazing choices, The Yard Milkshake Bar offers diners a great selection of beat-the-heat treats. For instance, The Yard serves specialty milkshakes and sundaes in pint-sized souvenir jars and specialty bowls. Some of these include Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss, Salted Caramel Cheesecake, the Cereal Killer and Doughnut Touch my Coffees and Cream.

  The Yard offers 30 ice cream flavors and 30-plus toppings from which to choose. Diners may enjoy milkshakes, floats and scooped ice cream or cookie dough. In addition, The Yard offers gluten-free, vegan-friendly and lactose-friendly choices. Trust me, run and do not walk to The Yard.

  The Yard Milkshake Bar is open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.

  The Yard Milkshake Bar makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

  Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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