Monday, July 21, 2008

Small town McDonalds…

Okay, we hear a lot about how chains have ruined small towns. (It’s one reason my mother says she loathes Wal-Mart.) But here’s a nice story about a chain in a small town.

Brother, my mom’s uncle, lived in Oakdale, a small town about 40 minutes away from DeRidder. (He moved there from DeRidder to open an auto parts store.) Every morning, Brother met his buddies for coffee. And they met at the most convenient spot: McDonalds.

When I think McDonalds, I think anonymous, good but bad cheap food, and not a whole lot of warmth from those behind the counter. But I guess it’s different in small towns. Or maybe it’s different in small towns in the south.

They are definitely friendly down there. One visit, en route to DeRidder, Paul and I were leaving a Specialty Meats store in Eunice, where we’d just bought a pound of boudin we were intent on devouring in the parking lot, when the old guy who owned the store popped his head out the screen door and said his wife had just put on a fresh pot of coffee, did we want a cup?

Anyway, I guess Brother and his buddies must have decided they preferred mugs to Styrofoam cups. So they started bringing them. And somehow, this evolved to the folks at McDonalds keeping their mugs there for them, at the ready, behind the counter.

After Brother died of heart failure, in 1998, one of my idle thoughts was: I wonder what they did with his mug?

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