Page 30: Joe Goes to McDonald’s

Ted and Joe drove off and headed toward Rochester.  Ted kept talking about anything and everything he could think of.  Joe just sat there, listening, but not really understanding anything. Joe was frustrated, but tried not to show it.  The stranger was nice, his mom and Sharon seemed to know who he was, so Joe trusted him as well.

They pulled up into the McDonald’s parking lot.  Ted got out of the car and proceeded to the front door under the Golden Arches.  Joe followed.  When they got inside, Ted ordered 12 Big Macs, 10 for Joe, and two for himself.  He ordered four large fries and two Cokes to go with it. 
Joe watched intently as Ted ordered and the person behind the counter scurried to get them their food.  Joe thought it was interesting how the food came wrapped up.  He had only seen food at the hospital and food that his mother cooked for him.  Ted carried the tray over to a table, quickly opened one of the Big Macs and sunk his teeth into one, chewing ever so slowly, savoring the taste of the beef, cheese and its special dressing. Joe just sat there looking at Ted. 

“Eat, dang it!” Ted ordered with a smile on his face.  “Don’t tell me you lost your appetite, too?  Remember the time you ate five large Pizza Hut Supreme pizzas?”

Joe watched what Ted had done, so he opened the little box, but then he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to use his hands to pick up what was inside. Ted was using one hand, Joe noted, so that’s what he tried. It seemed awkward to him. The burger fell apart, some of it dropping back into the carton, and some dropping to Joe’s lap.

Ted laughed, “First time eating?”

Joe answered, “This? Yes.”

Ted’s face became somber, “Seriously, Joe? You don’t know what a Big Mac is?”

As innocent as could be, Joe replied, “Nope. First time. Never had these in the hospital. Just had a watermelon the other day for the first time, too.” 

The food just about dropped out of Ted’s mouth. Was this for real, because if it wasn’t, Joe was doing a great job of acting. “How about fries?”

“Fries?” Joe asked.

“Yeah, these long things right here,” Ted took some fries out of the little red container, dipped them in ketchup, and ate them.

Joe did the same thing. “First time eating fries,” Joe replied. “I like them. I like the…what did you call it…big…?”

“Big Mac?” Ted finished the sentence for him. “You should, I’ve seen you eat as many as 15 in one sitting.”

Not exchanging many words after that, Ted and Joe finished their meal at McDonald’s. Not knowing what more to say or talk about, the ride back to the Aden farm was quiet. As Ted pulled the car into the Aden’s yard, he said, “Hey Joe, glad you’re back. Maybe we can get together some night for some one-on-one?”

“Sure,” said Joe, not knowing what he was committing to, but thinking it was the right thing to say.  Joe opened the door, got out of the car and started walking toward the house.

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