For one reason or another, I've found myself thinking a lot about my hometown and reminiscing about growing up there.
When I was a wee tike, we got word that McDonald's was coming. Holy crap, that was a big deal; big corporate America knew we existed! Furthermore, none of the other towns around us - Palmerton, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Summit Hill - had one. Suck on that, punks.
There's still a McDonald's where that first one was built - kind of. Apparently they had some sort of sewer issue that forced them to tear the whole thing down and rebuild.
From where I grew up, it was about a 5-6 minute drive, depending on how many of the lights you hit. (Back in high school, I could make that drive and only deal with two stoplights. Now, there's four, which could mean one of two things: The population has necessitated such a move - it hasn't - or our fine government does a great job of protecting us from ourselves. In fairness, one of those new lights was pretty badly needed. The other's just stupid.)
It was a 3-4 minute drive into town for the IGA there, since my dad despised the much bigger Laneco (we always just called it Lanes) supermarket, which is now a Giant.
Anyway, back then, we'd make occasional forays to visit an aunt and uncle in the northern Baltimore suburbs. How eye-opening it was back then; they could walk across the street, literally, to a supermarket! If they wanted to walk a few blocks, they could go to Arby's! Awesome! Man, imagine if we had that back home...
Well, my current home does have that. I could walk to a supermarket (but it's not very good, and we usually only stop there for milk, beer or other vitals). A 5-6 minute drive in any direction would yield four McDonald's, a Taco Bell, a Subway and a Wendy's.
When I'm at work, a 5-6 minute drive yields 3 McDonald's, a Taco Bell, a Subway, a Wendy's, a Burger King and a Chick-fil-A, plus whatever else is in the food court at Potomac Mills.
Now, I'd just as soon have something from a local or regional place - or, more to the point, someplace different. Like those four links at the side. I'm happy to run down the road to Five Guys, even if it means a trip to the ATM because they don't take debit cards.
I'm glad to go spend the money and enjoy the atmosphere at Clyde's. They have two barrooms there; the front more formal, the back more relaxed. The back is like a waterside shack you'd find on a beach somewhere; multiple TVs and background music that's always playing Big Tracks or Lucy. Hell, it's where we discovered Lucy was a damn good channel.
I'll take that over McDonald's any day. Maybe that wasn't the case at one time, but my attitude has done a 180.