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Never Easy Saying Goodbye to The Drive-Through

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.

What do you say--Let's Talk

for a moment. Better yet, let me rant! Only a mild rant would suffice. You know my topic well. And for many years this topic, Drive-Th rough's have been liken to a game of Tag that was present when I was just a boy. I won sometimes, but more than once, the Drive-Through won many battles. I could never figure out the strategy of Drive-Through. This man-made creation was more than shrewd or cunning. If you haven't noticed lately, the Drive-Through actually rules the day and causes me to rue its existence.

 British restaurant  chain with drive through.

British restaurant chain with drive through.

So Here

we are in 2018. I still live in Hamilton, Ala., with my wife of 43 years--still living in the very house that we built years later. Our hometown is still considered small, but we do have something that bigger cities have so we really feel cocky. We have Drive-Th rough's. A better question is: Does the Drive-Th rough's have us? I think the latter. Because in the text following this sentence, I will explain why I despise the very existence of Drive-Th rough's.

Don't get up in arms with me here. I am serious. I have enough resentment for Drive-Th rough's to go around with plenty left-over. I can remember when our hometown was blessed with a fried chicken restaurant that some Kentucky colonel owned. We loved that place. Until . . .the day came with the restaurant operator saw fit to put in a Drive-Through to take care of the customers who had rather order their food, drive to a certain window, pay, and go home. Pretty simple. But looks can be and are very deceiving. So deceiving that now in 2018 with every service outlet providing Drive-Through Service, if you look closely when drive to that speaker where you are expected to speak in perfect diction, you will hear growling, you sign with disgust, speak slower, more growling and finally, you turn loose on the people behind the growl.

I don't blame you one bit. In fact, I am behind you and your People vs. Drive-Through battles that are waged every day of each of our seven days. If you want it, you can find it. There is a place in California that has Drive-Through Worship Services where the church members can sit in comfort and listen to the Sunday sermon and relax with the air conditioner. And I have read about a Drive-Through Mortuary where the deceased will be professionally-placed in a huge picture window while family and friends drive by to pay their respects.

I don't know so much about the Drive-Through church and funeral home businesses. I mean, I am for the comfort. Don't get me wrong. I love comfort. If I were financially-able, I would never leave our home. I would have my groceries sent to us along with our medicines. I have already got enough TV stations to where I can watch plenty of boring programming in both classic and modern non-sense. So here is the Battle of Tag that I was going to show you more about.

There is this one place in my hometown, at my bank and only two years ago, the bank built two Drive-Through lanes in order to serve their customers. I hated it. The one lane that I used to use when I was able to drive and get about.

At first, I would take my monthly deposits, drive up to the nearest Drive-Through and in less than ten minutes, I was headed back home licking-split! No grass grew on my feet. No, sir. And with enough of my great service in the one Drive-Through, I got to feeling relaxed, a little cocky, and just doggoned prideful. One of the Seven Sins The Lord hates. I should have seen it coming. But I just kept going to that one Drive-Through--I couldn't get enough.

Then the great service and comfort started coming to an end. Oh, not at once, but enough to know that something was wrong with "my" favorite Drive-Through. I was innocent. I even whispered, "I am so sorry," the time that I had no choice as to use Lane Two of the bank's drive-through service. My other Drive-Through will understand. This lane is bound to see more customers than me. I would laugh at myself for talking to the air about me and "my" favorite Drive-Through Lane cheating right there in the public eye. It was plumb embarrassing.

I would get home from the bank and my wife would ask me, why are you talking to yourself? Then she would pour on the suspicion. Are you seeing someone else? Then she's give me the Evil Eye and walk out of the room. I can tell you fellas, it's not fun having a relationship with a Drive-Through Lane. And after all of the times that I would keep my window down and even compliment the bank employee who was behind the glass and tell her how clean her Drive-Through lane looked. This Drive-Through lane must have loved my attention because for three weeks straight--I would drive up and have "this" drive-through all to myself. Ahhh, those were the times.

It came apart in Lane Two of the bank. "This" lane was not that clean and yes, there were a few empty beer cans lying toward the place where you place your bank receipts and deposits in this tube (that looked like Star Trek) and wait for the tube to come back with your receipt. I saw this happen. "My" Favorite Drive-Through Lane was empty. No one! Yeahhh! But I had just put my car in Drive and the very moment that I slowly started toward "her" lane, there another bully showed up. The driver laughed like he and "my" Favorite Drive-Through Lane were laughing at me--at being behind the driver of this filthy-looking pick-up truck and the driver was even smoking a cigarette! Yukkkkk! How the young, impressionable Drive-Through Lane had strayed from the Wholesome Life.

I took count on the times that "she" forced me to wait. In the rain, snow, and hot, broiling sun. "My" Favorite Drive-Through Lane was having her vengeance on me and there wasn't one thing that I could do about it. Just stand and take it.

Well . . .not all of it. There was that one special Friday, around 2 p.m.,when I had to make a deposit and I dreaded it. I hate sitting in my car (or any car) in a slow service lane. I don't mean to hate something that is alive like we are, but I do. And if you think that I will spend more cash on some psychiatrist to listen to me go on and on about "My" Favorite Drive-Through Lane falling for me and then turning on me like a drunken Long-Shore-man on leave. Those guys are dangerous. I have some principles.

But on that Friday afternoon that I sensed that "she" wanted to be my Drive-Through Lane was when I parked my car, picked up my deposit, and walked almost into the lane, but not so the bank employee could hear me.

"I am so sorry for using this other drive-through lane a few weeks ago. I was in such a hurry, I just gave in and I knew that this hurt you. And listen, "My" Favorite Drive-Through Lane, please forgive me, please?" I even picked a small flower near the parking slot where I parked my car and I took the small flower and put it near the Customer's Window was located. The girl employee thought that I had given her the flower and said softly, "are these for me?" "Uhhh, no. The flower is for "her" the Drive-Through Lane behind me."

On the next Monday, I thought I would test the apology to see if it had worked. I had to take some letters to the bank and on purpose, I waited for the busiest part of the day--when the three plants let their employees go home. I drove to the bank right at the busy part of the bank's day. The Outside Drive-Through Lane was lined-up as if by magical charm.

I walked to the place where the plastic tube is located and placed the letters in the tube and the bank employee yelled, "this lane is out of commission. You may use the upper lane." Not on your life, sister. I was on a mission and wanted to see this through.

On the inside of the box where the plastic tubes were located were two buttons: "Send" and "Receive." I just had to do this: "would it be okay if I put my letters in the tube and hit 'Send?" The bank employee nodded okay and I hit "Send" and the tube flew upward inside the long tube and out of sight.

"How did you . . .do that?" The bank employee asked almost fainting in disbelief.

"Oh, uhhh, just being nice to "someone" I know," I said softly and walked back to my car. Again, as I drove off, I looked at My Favorite Drive-Through Lane only to see what looked to be a big smile and then a wink from what looked to be her right eye.

I don't talk about this too much.

Australian diner using drive-through.

Australian diner using drive-through.

© 2018 Kenneth Avery

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