I have a good friend who passed away several years ago, and he and I were kindred spirits, at least in one particular area: memory. He’d often say of himself, “I have a good memory, it’s just short.” I look at the previous blog (the silent game) and wonder, “where was I going with that?” I think it had something to do with rest, the Sabbath, and that rest, while usually something we need so desperately, is typically inconvenient; given our break-neck speed of American life. So many live that way. I refuse.
Today, I’m reflecting on our local McDonald’s. It occured to me in a new way last night (I was there with my wife and kids) that our McDonald’s, in it’s recently renovated state (they tore the old one down and built a brand new one in it’s place) is almost anti-kid, in the way McDonald’s has historically been. It seems that the designers took their cues from Starbucks more than anything else. It’s a ridiculous milange of red-nosed sophistication. The only thing there for kids is–get this–video games. What kind of McD’s is this? Where are the sweat-dripped tunnels and the stale smell of feet that I have come to enjoy with my almost 100% artificial meal?
But that’s not my point (not that I need one), it’s the Happy Meal issue. As a parent, it’s routine for our kids to ask upon pulling into a McDonald’s, “Can we get a happy meal?” A standard answer is no. Here’s why: they don’t eat the fries, they don’t need the chocolate milk, and toy that comes with it is rarely ever seen again after the first half hour in their possession.
But this time we indulged. It was Shrek 3 and I have to be honest that it was worth it to awaken this morning not to kids watching TV, but to 3 out of 4 (the 4 was still lounging in bed and could care less) all congregated in the living room playing with, you guessed it, their complete family of Shrek, Fiona, and whatever their offspring are called. It was heartening.
So here to McDonald’s. Not because of the countless horrible ways they contribute to our society, but for the one single way they brightened my kids world this morning.