I’m sure many of you remember Happy Meals, one of the fast food outlets coined the phrase I can recall. In fact they started advertising Happy Meals in June 1979. That is 36 years ago… imagine that. Funny how the phrase is still associated with the advertisement, maybe not funny, maybe tragic! So our blogging course suggested we write about a HAPPY MEAL we had as a child. Well I wasn’t a child in 1979 but I did have two very small children of my own, so it is no wonder I recall that slogan.
However a Happy Meal that I do remember from my child hood is, I suspect, equally un-healthy. To give you the background; I lived on a farm 30 minutes drive from a rural town on a narrow windy gravel road over two or three mountain streams, across the cattle stop up the hill past the woolshed to ‘home’. There were horses in the paddock, dogs barking, sheep sleeping on the roads, the odd deer, fish in the stream, guinea pigs, pet lambs, trees full of birds nest to find and The Milky Way was often above our heads. One way and another our rural childhood was pretty good. I had two older brothers at boarding school and I couldn’t wait to go too.
The highlight of my parents winter week was ‘Saturday Rugby’. We would head into Omakau, where I also went to primary school, and everyone gathered along the side of the paddock and watched rugby. Matakanui was our team and my father was very excited when they won a game, he used to play for this team before he had three children! If I got bored watching rugby, and I invariably did, I walked to the pub ( one of three) and said hello to my teacher who happened to live at the local Commercial Hotel. That’s how life was back then. My parents knew where to find me and everyone knew everyone.
After the rugby the adults adjourned to the bar until 6 o’clock closing. The police car would turn up at 6pm and the scramble to get out before being ticketed was, in hindsight, quite comical. The fun part for me was looking forward to our treat dinner. We would drive around the corner to the pie shop and my mother would go in and return with 3-4 paper bags full of hot delicious smelling meat pies. This was a favourite meal for me as a child. My ‘Happy Meal’. One particular Saturday I recall was very wintry and no doubt there had been much rain! On our way home one of the creeks was in flood and the car soon got stuck in this raging little creek so we all walked home, about an hour, I recall. It probably wasn’t but when you are 8 it seems like a long long way! Mother carried the pies under her coat, after all slightly squashed pies were preferable to wet pies!! Once at home and dried off Mother reheated the rain-soaked pies ( no microwaves back then) and they were absolutely delicious eaten around the open log fire…. another ‘Happy Meal’ I well recall.