Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Friday morning I was heading into work and decided to stop at McDonald’s for coffee. It’s not too often that I stop there, but for 85 cents the price is right.
I try to get into the office around 10 a.m. When I do stop at the South Transit McDonald’s the drive-thru line usually isn’t very long. Friday, around 10:15 a.m., wasn’t one of those instances.
The line stretched two-thirds of the way around the building. Still, I decided to use the drive-thru. This is when the trouble began.
Anyone who has used a McDonald’s drive-thru in the past two or three years is familiar with the two-lane setup. You get in line, and at a certain point you split into two lanes. It’s intended to speed things up. Whether it actually does is debatable.
As I sat in line, I watched a beige Buick Lucerne pass me on the right. There were two SUV’s directly in front of me and I lost sight of the Buick. I looked beyond them, expecting to see the Buick continue driving through the parking lot. I didn’t see it. “He didn’t just cut us off, did he?” I asked myself.
About a minute later we hadn’t moved, and I watched a second vehicle pass me on the right. This time I could see him in that second lane.
TWO drivers had cut off me and up to three other drivers!
Maybe I’m wrong, but to me, the lane at McDonalds should remain one lane until you reach the split. It’s sort of like going into 7-11 or the bank: There may be more than one cashier working, but everyone lines up and waits their turn. Apparently these two drivers thought they were at Tops and decided to circumvent what they perceived as the “slow lane.”
I pulled out of the drive-thru lane, parked my car and walked inside where there were two customers in front of me. I got my coffee and walked back to my car. The Buick and the vehicle behind him — I think it was a Chevy pickup — were still in line. Serves them right.
So, to the drivers of the Buick and the second vehicle, thanks for being inconsiderate jerks. I hope you choked on your biscuits.
Now that I have gotten that unpleasantness out of my system, let’s talk family reunions. Some people hate them, others look forward to them. I’m in that latter category.
I understand that not all families get along, so for them a family reunion isn’t complete without someone getting mad at someone else, or a few people arrive and don’t speak to certain individuals, or they just skip it entirely.
Perhaps because we’re rather far-flung that doesn’t happen with my mother’s side of the family, which has a reunion every summer. It started in the early 80s with a birthday party in Scranton, Pa. for my grandmother. We had so much fun that we’ve had one just about every year since.
Not everyone makes it to these events, but most years we have a good turnout. Yesterday a small group of us got together at my sister’s place in East Aurora. I’m writing this before our annual event, but I can already predict the day.
We’’ll catch up on what’s new with cousins and aunts and uncles. There will be plenty of food and drink. Some of us will go swimming. There will be reminiscing. We’ll watch the kids with their endless energy run around until you’d think they were on the verge of collapsing. Then they’ll amaze us as they suddenly catch their second wind.
There will be discussions about politics, and disagreements about Obama and Romney. We’ll remember those who are no longer with us. It promises to be fun, even with a small turnout.
For several years my uncle and his family in Scranton hosted the event. Then it started moving around as my cousins graduated from college and accepted jobs in other parts of the Northeast.
Besides Scranton, our reunions have been held on Long Island; Warwick, N.Y.; Syracuse, Buffalo and Boston. I can’t remember if we had one in Rochester when my oldest sister lived there — she and her family live in Charlotte now.
On more than one occasion an actual reunion day was replaced by a summertime wedding. The last time that happened is when Colleen and I got married in 2008.
For us they’re always fun and provide a chance to strengthen familial bonds.John Hopkins is the managing editor for the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. His columns appear on Sundays. Contact Mr. Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.