I’m still lovin’ it.

Ever heard of a fast-food restaurant chain known as McDonald’s? You may recognize the white, red, and yellow logo with its golden arches. Did it blow your mind that the golden arches represent French fries? Stop me if you’re familiar.

McDonald’s: I loved it. McDonaldland, which started in the 1980s, was in full swing when I was growing up. I knew Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese, Grimace, Officer Big Mac and the whole gang. When I was good, my parents and grandparents would take me to eat at McDonald’s. My favorites are the nuggets and the hamburger. Fries are a given. When I treat myself, I get a hamburger, four-piece chicken nuggets, medium fry, medium Coke, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Their salty, golden, crispy fries are still irresistible.

The food wasn’t the only attraction. They also had a play place! Fun for kids and kids-at-heart. McDonald’s catered to kiddos like me. I celebrated my birthday at McDonald’s!

I’m only half-smiling because of the Ronald impersonator who didn’t spring for a red wig.
Ronald and co. wishing me a happy 5th birthday!
My sister and I excited about the clown. Ronald taught me that clowns are A-OK.

We often went on road trips from Dallas, Texas to Walburg, Texas. We had our choice of McDonald’s restaurants along the way. When all my cousins got together for holidays, we would always stop at McDonald’s. On our long road trips, we shouted with joy when we saw the golden arches up ahead.

A rite of passage for anyone with younger siblings is making up goofy stories and seeing how long you can keep it up. I don’t have any younger siblings, but I have younger cousins. My cousins my age and I hatched a plan to fool our youngest cousin. My mom’s maiden name is Mickan. My mom’s parents, the Mickans, live about two and half hours away from Dallas in Walburg, Texas. When I was little, especially in the summer, we went to Walburg every other weekend. My youngest cousin and his siblings lived in Georgetown, so they went with us every time. We frequented McDonald’s so often in the small town that they had our orders memorized. Being that we were well-known, my sister, cousins, and I decided to take advantage. We convinced our youngest cousin that we owned McDonald’s. The full name was MickanDonald’s. We shortened the name. He believed it for about a year before we burst his bubble.

I ate McDonald’s all through high school. I bragged about my love of McDonald’s throughout college and at my first job in New York. I took a lot of heat for supporting the fast-food giant. Hamburgers, nuggets, fries, ketchup, and barbecue sauce were the building blocks of my thick thighs and what I lovingly refer to as my tiger stripes aka my stretch marks. Other adults would scoff when I brought the full bag back to my desk. “How can you eat that?!” I would get chastised and shown videos of their pink nugget meat; however, I couldn’t let go of my childhood love. My body, too, wanted to retain something—all the salt. When I left New York, my coworkers thought of the greatest parting gift, a McDonald’s logo that said, “We’re lovin’ Tiff.” They all signed it. It made me cry happy tears. I was glad to have it be my legacy.

The most perfect parting gift.

I still indulge in McDonald’s after a late night or when I’m back with my family. I gotta admit—I’m still lovin’ it. My niece and nephew are big fans, too. As my grandpa used to say, “It happens in the best of families.”

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