A Match Made at McDonald’s

A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers.

On an April day in 1961, an 18-year-old girl and her mother pulled into a McDonald’s restaurant in Saginaw, Michigan in the family’s brand-new, powder-blue convertible Chevy Impala. There was a tall, handsome young man with a buzz-cut working behind the counter, hustling to fill people’s orders. No one is quite sure if Dad noticed the car, my beautiful grandmother or mom first, but something got his attention. He threw a few grins and flirtatious-glances their way, and Grandma said to Mom, “That’s the kind of guy I want you to marry.”

That night, Mom hopped back in the car and went back to McDonald’s with the express purpose of flirting with the fry guy. She did that a couple of times and dad finally got her number. In the smoothest of moves, he offered to come to her house to wash that sweet car, and the rest is history. A match made at McDonald’s. She learned he was just days away from moving to Oklahoma, so there would be no long courtship, only a couple of long talks and just one date. Incredibly, only three weeks after a quick stop at McDonald’s, my parents were engaged. He went off to manage a McDonald’s in Oklahoma City and she stayed behind in Michigan.

They would fall in love through letters.

They still have those letters. It’s a new family tradition every year for Dad to read a couple of them to the family after our Christmas meal. He’s forced to pause several times as we laugh and bombard them both with questions — the time mom tried to break up with him in a telegram and the struggle to get enough money scraped together to start their lives.

Sixty-one years.

Two people, broke and somewhat broken from painful childhoods, found forever in a fast-food line. And together, they would heal. What a blessing it has been to see their story unfold.

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad.