Merry Monday: A Very Happy Meal


Welcome to another Merry Monday, my infrequent series featuring a smiley post to remind peeps that every day is awesome, even Monday! Enjoy!

The time on my computer read 10:52. I wasn’t sure I could get there in time. But I was going to try.

They had been calling my name for days. Today was the day I would answer.

As I entered the driveway — the asphalt trail that would lead me to fluffy, golden, syrupy deliciousness — I spied a poster in the window.

“Now served all day long.”

I shook my head and squinted. Surely that was a mirage.

Hopeful, I approached the drive-thru speaker and buzzed my window down.

“Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to try ….. (whatever she said was the newest thing)?”

“No, thanks.”

“How can I help you?”

I flashed a look at the clock: 11:10.

“Is it too late to get pancakes?”

“No. We serve Hotcakes all day long now,” she said, with a millionth of the enthusiasm I felt for them.

HALLELUJAH! They would be mine.

McDonald's Hotcakes

With my small Dr. Pepper to go with — this is the breakfast of champions, eh? — I readied my breakfast. I poured the entire serving of syrup on the three cakes of hot, tasty goodness. No margarine (yes, the packets they give you with Hotcakes is margarine). Nothing else was needed with my syrupy circles of perfection.

I didn’t eat, though. Nay. I savored. Each and every bite. Even as I felt the sugar eating away at the enamel on my teeth. Even as I saw the stack dwindling oh, so slowly, as I took my time with my treat. Even as I’d stop between bites and say, out loud, “I love Hotcakes!”

So in the moment.

And then, they were gone.

It was awesome whilst it lasted.

Simple things make me happy, eh? You should see the dance I do at Target when they get new carts.

Pin the memory on my heart

The competition was fierce even before the battle began. The game, of course, would be the main event, but first, determining the order of play.

Two players. Twins. A boy and a girl. Sweet yet competitive.

At four-and-a-half, they’ve played their fair share of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. They’ve tasted victory and defeat. This time would be no different. One would win, the other would lose when, at the family send-off for their Paris-bound Aunt, we played Pin the Aunt on France. Same premise as the Donkey game, but without involving posteriors. Players aimed, and I use that term loosely, to tape a tiny photo of Aunt’s head on an 8- by 11-inch map of France. The goal: to stick her noggin as close to Paris as possible.

“Do you guys want to play?” I asked.

“Yeah!” Girl screamed and jumped up and down.

“Yes!” Boy yelled and clapped a few times.

How to decide who would go first? Flip a coin? Take a vote? For four-and-a-half-year-olds, I thought, there is only one way to settle a dilemma like this.

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe!” I said.

Girl giggled and put her hands together, interlocking her fingers, a teeny prayer for the win. Boy smiled then watched, mouth agape, my pointed finger like a laser as I darted back and forth from one to the other.

“Catch a tiger by the toe!”

Oh, how would this turn out? Each hoped they would win; my main hope was to remember the entire rhyme. I couldn’t remember the last time I recited it.

“If he hollers, let him go!”

Their eyes grew wider with every finger point, from her to him and back again.

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe! Out goes Y-O-U!”

My “U” landed on Girl. Boy won! He jumped up and down. The best part – so did she.

He put the blindfold on, then I turned him three times, aimed his arm a bit by the elbow, and guided him to the door where the map waited. In less than a second, Boy planted Aunt’s face on France without feeling around the paper for the edges to help choose a spot (which several of the unsportsmanlike adults later did). Then it was Girl’s turn. Blindfold on, game piece in hand, spun and guided by me, then pow! She taped her piece close to Boy’s.

After their turns, the adults stepped back and looked in awe. Girl’s piece was just to the right of Paris. Boy’s was on the circle indicating the nation’s capital. (Most of the adults later would land their game pieces anywhere BUT Paris, despite their attempts at cheating.)

The kids' map: Boy's piece on Paris; Girl's not far off.
The kids’ map: Boy’s piece on Paris; Girl’s not far off.

“You won!” I said to Boy. Everyone clapped, even his sister. Then she hugged him. Girl lost, but didn’t pout, cry, stomp, or perform any other unseemly four-and-a-half-year-old behavior.

Technology’s great and maybe it would be nice to have photos of this to look at today. I was too busy being the emcee to worry about clicking. That’s OK, though — I saw the smiles grow on each face, the way her eyes lit up when he won the chance to go first, the baby-toothed giggles, as it all happened. I felt the love they had for each other when they hugged after their competitively fun game.

I don’t need pictures to remember. They pinned that memory in my mind and on my heart.