Barf, in a cup

A couple of weeks ago, when we were driving back to our Windy City hotel after dinner, we passed a McDonald’s. ‘The Shamrock Shake is back!’ the billboard-ish sign under the golden arches announced.

Of all the things I’ve ever ingested at McDonald’s, the Shamrock Shake of my high school years is probably the only thing I’m vaguely sentimental about.

When I returned to the unfrozen tundra, I emailed a fellow Shamrock Shake loving friend and a few days later we took our spawn to McDonald’s for a trip down memory lane.

I had my reservations about purchasing each of the boy-children their very own not-that-small shake, but didn’t have it in me to referee the three-way sharing of a shake. So there we sat, around a very large round table: two mothers, one daughter and four boy-children. Sipping shamrock shakes.

The cool minty treat was just as I remembered it, though its hue seemed to have intensified over the years. ‘What do you guys think,’ I asked the kids. And, as happens when you pose a question to a gathering of boy-children, I got responses like: ‘it tastes like barf!’ ‘It tastes like bacon.’ ‘It tastes like pee.’


‘How do you survive with all those boys, Miss Nicola’ my friend’s girl asked. And I had to shake my head at such a thoughtful question. How. Indeed.

Less than twenty minutes later, after deafening the customers and showing more interest than seemed prudent in the trash can slash compactor, I drove home with my three sidekicks.  For thirty minutes or so, the boys were pleasant. Playing together, kind to each other and I marvelled at the St. Patrick’s Day miracle before me.

Perhaps the shakes had a magical leprechaun-like ingredient that had brought about such exemplary behavior and I – briefly – thought about driving directly back to the Golden Arches to stock up.

But before I could get in the car, someone hit someone else and someone threw their car across the room.

Once every twenty years or so is probably enough.

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