May 15th

My grandfather had gold jewelry. Like too much Godfather. Chains hung like armor against our poverty. He had shoes of soft shined leather shoes.

He would come through every six months or so, a few days with us was never too much. He said family began to smell like dead fish after three days. But he kept coming back.

When I was six he came through town and bought us each a Happy Meal. Fries and a cheeseburger and orange soda in a tiny little waxed paper white cup. We each received the same toy. A blue plastic train, with glitter and wheels that hypnotized from a show we had never watched. From a show we would never watch.

It was the only time I ever remember getting a Happy Meal. We had the toys, dug out of the nickel boxes of other people’s garage sales on sweaty sun screen Saturday mornings. Disney characters and small transforming creatures, french fry cartons that twisted into robots. Other people’s lost trophies, in my mind. But never our own.

I treasured the blue glittered molded engine for years. It was the only one I ever got first hand, with orange soda to stain my tongue.

– May 15th, 1940 – McDonald’s opens its first restaurant. –

*Composed May 15th, 2015.

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