Updated: Jul 1, 2021
I am really torn with how to tackle this particular post. Andrea is a significant character in my life story with lots of highs and lows. I spent the later half of my teens and most of my 20s with her but things got real negative at the end. As I hope that my kids will eventually read all these posts I will try to focus on the positives.
My first job outside of working for the family business was with McDonalds and I started very soon after I turned 16. I was excited to have my own income and worked real hard making a big impression with the management. One day I spotted a new employee who was a "Ronald Ranger" all dressed in red and preparing for a birthday party (do people still have birthday parties at McDonalds?)
She was only 15 which meant that she could not work in the kitchen and her duties were restricted to helping on the front line taking orders and managing the chaos that ensued in the PlayPlace on the side of the building. Her parents were friends with the store manager Cindy and she didn't work a lot of hours at first but when she was there she lit up my day. I remember one day she came in to get her check and wasn't dressed in the embarrassing garb fast food workers are forced to endure. I rounded the corner and saw her standing at the counters laughing and talking to friends. It was in that moment I become smitten with her. (Forgive the lameness of this post kids and especially my apologies to Ana if it gets weird.)
I, like most 16 year old boys, was pretty bad at flirting and was deathly afraid of the opposite sex. I eventually got up the nerve to ask her out though and to my excitement she said yes. I had never taken a girl on a date before so my proposed plan was pretty unimaginative, dinner and a movie. I asked what kind of food she liked and to my relief instead of saying something like "steak" I couldn't afford she prefered Taco Bell. So on a cold Friday evening in 1997 (Feb 21st if memory serves) we went to the TB a few hundred feet West of the McDonalds we worked at. Both original buildings have been torn down since then. They rebuilt the McDonalds more modern and without the PlayPlace while the Taco Bell became a Sheridan's Custard.
After she finished her Big Beef Nacho Supreme (minus sour cream and tomato) we made our way to the Belton Cinema 8 where we watched the rerelease of Empire Strikes Back. Our relationship didn't go far from there due to a silly teenage miscommunication and our second date wasn't for nearly another year.