Thursday, March 16, 2017
Ode to a Golden Arch
I have always loved McDonalds. I remember the first time I ever had their food.
Back in the day my Mom wanted to move out of Brooklyn. Or at least out of Carroll Gardens to buy a house. To give you some idea the house went for about $10,000 at the time. It was the early sixties. So on a Sunday my Uncle V would pack us all in his giant Chrysler Newport with the big bench seat.
Seat belts? We don't need no stinking Seat Belts.
My Dad would never come with us. He would have a cherished Sunday home to sleep have a couple of beers and watch the dog ass Mets. So it was me Ma, me, my sister, Uncle V and Grandma. We would ride out to Bensonhurst or over to Staten Island. Sometimes even all the way out to Long Island. Now I know we would never move to Long Island. My old man would never ride for an hour or two on the LIRR when it took him ten minutes to get to Wall Street from the neighborhood. So this particular time he stayed home.
Grandma always had a vinyl shopping bag that held an inexhaustible number of snacks. Peaches. Plums. Those small bottles of Manhattan Special. And sandwiches. Sausage and peppers. Potato and eggs. Meatballs. Veal Cutlets. The works.
This time Uncle V told her to leave the sandwiches home. We were going to eat out! YEAH!!
It was this new style restaurant. A drive through that sold hamburgers. I think it was in Westbury. Or maybe East Northport. I forget. Anyway we went and looked at a couple of houses. No great shakes. I couldn't wait to get to the burgers.
We get there and everyone puts in their orders. Big Mac. Fries. Apple Pie. Milk Shake. Man it was delicious. I had a cast iron stomach in those days. I gobbled that down like I was going to the chair. Everybody really enjoyed it you know? It was Americana food. Not Italian. Not what we were used too. So it was a treat.
Finally everybody was finished. We all went to bathroom. Piled in the car. Pulled out onto Sunrise Highway. I puked all over the place.
I was a little pussy and always got car sick. So shoving that stuff down my gullet so fast wasn't such a great idea. But I didn't care. I loved it.
Later on I would eat at the Arches all the time. When I was a teenager working a summer job in Flushing (Heh) I would have ritual. I would get six cheese burgers, fries, an apple pie and a strawberry milkshake. I would sit with a copy of the Sporting News and go over the box scores while I chowed down. It was heaven.
Later on I would pop in here and there for a burger when I had a chance. Not as much as I used to because I started to really prefer places where they had beer and girls showed you their tits. So I didn't do lunch at McDonalds all the often. But I don't denigrate them. The breakfast menu is great. I still pop in for a coffee when I am close by instead of a freaking Starbucks.
I am not allowed to eat that stuff anymore but I know many people who eat there all the time. Who can afford to take their kids there and let them eat all they want and not worry about the bill. My cousin took her sister-in-law and two kids to a fancy restaurant in the City. She told them that they could order anything they wanted. Little Caroline looked at the menu and piped up "Twenty dollars for a hamburger Aunt Stephanie...that's crazy.....we can go to McDonalds and we can all eat for that!"
She is the same age I was when I puked in the parking lot. Kids know.
I really hope that McDonalds can find their way back to America. To avoid the politically correct social warrior corporate culture that is the death of the dream for so many all American companies. McDonalds is for families. For working stiffs who need a quick tasty cheap meal. For teenagers to grab a bite. For that matter the place where a teenager can get his first job. Where a special needs kid can get a job flipping burgers and feel independent. McDonalds was the salt of the earth. It was the cholesterol clogging the arteries of America.
Please don't let them take that away from us.
It's enough to make you puke.