Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Golden Arches and a Jammy Ride

I'm a St. Patrick's Day baby. It's fun to have your birthday on such a holiday like St. Patrick's Day because it's a special day but it's not Christmas or anything that would overshadow your festivities. It's just fun to wear green, hear about leprechauns and the good ole Irish themselves. Now that I've gotten older, I've discovered that St. Patrick was a pretty incredible guy as well, so I guess it's a great day to have a birthday. I wouldn't know any different. It's always just been that way for me.

My parents did a great job making my day special while growing up with fun green decorations on my cake, one in particular was a Care Bear Wish Bear (remember Care Bears were huge in the 80's) and various other fun green themed things. However, something they did nearly every year was get me a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's. It's pretty darn yummy and I have fond memories of going through the drive-thru to then slurp down my special milkshake all the way home. It was great and for some reason I thought they made that milkshake just for me and my birthday. Hmmmmm....

When I met my husband, I think I happened to mention the Shamrock Shake tradition sometime before my first birthday that we spent together and then I totally forgot about it. Well, he didn't. He felt it was his duty to keep the tradition going, even though I no longer lived at home, and on that first birthday, he took me out to get a Shamrock Shake. Unfortunately for him, McDonald's had run out...RUN OUT on St. Patrick's Day. They had plenty the day before (he even scoped it out ahead of time) and I'm sure plenty the next day, but on the day that it mattered, St. Patrick's Day, there wasn't one little drop of green milkshake to be found. We even checked the other McDonald's in town...none.

And so began the new tradition. Every year after that, for the past eight years, he has tried to get me a Shamrock Shake. It became the joke every year. "Maybe this will be the year..." But much to my poor hubby's chagrin, it never worked out. Either McDonald's was out or they didn't even know what we were talking about...for SHAME!

Debbi, my mentor for the past ten years, knew of this running joke between us and she called a couple of weeks ago to let me know that she had personally seen the Shamrock Shake in San Luis Obispo. This gave me hope since we tried many years when we lived in SLO and never got one. If they were in SLO, then maybe we'd be able to find one this year.

We decided not to take our chances on St. Patrick's Day but to go on St. Patrick's Day Eve so that we were at least close to the original tradition. So last night after dinner, we made the children clean-up the kitchen, clean the playroom and get all ready for bed--basically do their nighttime chores and then just when they thought it was time for Daddy to read the Hobbit and settle in for the night, Steve and I screamed "Jammy Ride! Everyone in the car!!" The squeals of delight reverberated through the house. They didn't know where they were going but KNEW it was going to be fun. Jammy Rides always are and usually involve some sort of treat. The one thing they knew for sure is that they weren't going to least not yet. And off we went, hopeful but with a Plan B to pick up a cookie if McDonald's failed us yet again.

Nevertheless, I'm astonished yet happy to report...we picked up three Shamrock Shakes last night thus officially ending the drought. And we all shared them. It was pure delight. Of course, it was just a vanilla milkshake with nasty, fast-food green dye, disguising itself as "mint" flavoring mixed in. But it brought me back and I enjoyed it. Maybe it's just a foreshadowing...during the decade of my 20's I couldn't even find the stuff. But now that I'm getting older and it's my last year of my 20's, someone decided to throw me a bone for old time's know, a way to say "good-bye" to my youth. I don't know and I don't care.

All I know is that three little boys were nestled in the back of our car, sipping their green milkshakes, Dad was smiling that he FINALLY succeeded, and I was taking it all in, blessed by my family and of course, my Shamrock Shake. It was the perfect start to my 29th year.


  1. Happy Birthday Nikki!!! Today is Curran's half-birthday, which we celebrate with all the usual St. Patrick's goodness and half a cake, singing along "half a birthday to you, half a birthday to you...". I hope your day is lovely and that you enjoy basking in all God's goodness to your family. SO glad to have you as a friend!

  2. Happy Birthday!!!! I love the concept of a jammy ride! My nephew's birthday is today and it is so fun. Shamrock shakes are the yum. I got to have one this year as well - and I was so excited to find them that we had it for breakfast -gasp!

  3. Darling! Happy birthday friend!

  4. First of all, Happy Birthday! Second, SV had the Shamrok Shakes....we made a special trip with friends from Abby's preschool...but none of us were impressed! I am glad your boys enjoyed them. We ended up tossing 2 out of 2 full cups....oh well. I will not focus on the money thrown out, but the calories and sugar saved!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day/Birthday!

  5. Loved the idea of the jammy ride!!!! What a great way to build memories with the boys. Bravo, Steve, to not give up on the pursuit of the Shamrock Shake!! Sounds like you all had a great time and what a fun celebration for your birthday.