Monday, May 5, 2008

Slice of potato life

Picture this: A minivan full of Davenports on the way home from church. Mom and Dad tease for a while and then relent- we can stop at Burger King on the way home. Children cheer; ticker tape streams from windows; fireworks burst in the sky above but no one notices because it's the middle of the day.

This momentous event took place every few weeks or so and was a huge deal in my family because- OMG- eating out!!!!!!

Turns out the closest you get to a fine dining-out experience in a plus-sized, one-income family, is the drive-through at BK. Yep, them were some excitin' days.

It was always the drive-through; we were never actually allowed out of the car. Dad's second greatest fear (after the exorbitant cost of buying French fries for seven children) was the idea of taking. all. those. kids. into a restaurant. Even the *ahem* casual atmosphere at Berber King and Big Donald's (as m'brother Dan used to call them when he was a wee one) intimidated dear old dad. Perhaps he was worried that we'd get kicked out for spilling ketchup on the table? Or possibly he just wanted to get home where he could "fall down" on the family room floor immediately after lunch [Oh noes!! Dad's down, what can we do?!? He's fallen and he can't get up!... Hey, where's that snoring sound coming from?] and take a nap. Hey, he worked hard to buy all those French fries.

In any case, the takeout lunches every few Sundays were the only time we ever got to eat unhealthy food, my mom being a fan of whole wheat and plain yogurt, and we considered it high living. Though, lest you suspect that we were spoiled, let me point out that there was none of this overpriced and wasteful purchasing of individual Happy Meals for us. We were not like those heathens who bought new cars and went on actual vacations! Noo, we were thrifty upstanding Yanks, and it was much more cost effective to buy each kid a burger and then split a few large fries among the whole family. As you can imagine, this led to intense squabbling and French fry envy once we got home, I think one of us may have lost a finger at one point. Don't worry- Mom stuck it in her milkshake and they were able to surgically reattach it at the hospital, (after the adrenaline had worn off the Doctor realized it was a French fry he'd reattached, not a finger, but it seemed to work okay, and hey, hardly anybody notices now).

I expect that in future years, when other people my age are telling their children about the time they went to Sea World, or historic Williamsburg, or the Grand Canyon, my siblings and I will be nostalgically awash in the memories of homemade milkshakes and individual-serving ketchup packets while we explain to our progeny why uncle so-and-so has a French fry for a finger.


Michael said...

Wow! I bugger off and you become a blogging machine. Methinks I'm holding you back.

Anonymous said...

Lol! So stinking hilarous! I can almost taste that sweet, sweet cheeseburger. and oh the delicate french fry dance. (when you try to eat your fair share of ffs and maybe a few extra w/o anyone noticing and sounding the "no fair, (insert name here) is eating all the frys" alarm."
BTW we miss you too. especially this week. Luke and I were sick with a super cold. The kind that comes with fevers and ear infections. Luckily Bailey is still healthy save the horrid diaper rash she's sporting due to the fact that she poops every 5 minutes. Today is better but yesterday I almost ran away...ok not really but I did hide in the bathroom once or twice. :)

fern said...

I'm late to the party but had to comment because we were only a family of 5, but we were po', and the only time we got to "eat out" was on Sundays after church, on rare occasions. Same thing -- we drove thru and took the food home, and hells no we didn't get no stinkin Happy Meals.

Why did they make us drive home? Because then they didn't have to buy us drinks.

Also? In my family we didn't get dinner Sunday nights. This has never been explained. I guess feasting on God's Word and a few renegade french fries was supposed to fill us til Monday breakfast.