I read in the paper that Don Hale passed away at 93. Don was the owner of Hires Big H or better known as Hires, an old fashioned drive-up in Salt Lake City - OUR JOINT.
I started taking Elle to Hires when she started pre-school, 14 years ago. At the time I was working full-time. I would pick her up from school, race to Hires for burgers and fries, hit the park up the street for a quick swing, then off to my Mom's to drop Elle off and race like HELL back to work. It was a little hairy at times, but a great memory that Elle remembers vividly today. So well worth it!
When I married Raylan, I expanded the tradition to include Jax and Little Hart. It wasn't all that hard to convince them. What's not to love; hamburgers, fries, ice cream and you get it delivered to your car. Awesome! The staff has watched our kids grow-up. And they LOVE that the staff know them by name. Even though it's just me and Little Hart now, it feels like putting on your favorite pair of jeans, sooo good!
When I look back, this tradition has played a large role in my bonding with the kids and them bonding with each other. It's been a way for the kids to unwind from their long day at school and share it, the good - the bad - the ugly.
Until recently, we have had a 50/50 custody agreement with the three kids and their other families. Our philosophy has been to make every day we have with the kids - COUNT! This was one of the ways we made it count. I say WE because Raylan would sometimes surpirse the kids and join us, but mostly the two of us made the decision to fund our Hires excursions because we saw the value it played in building our family. We knew that the days would go by fast when they would be off doing their own thing. Two of them are already busy doing their own thing and Little Hart is right behind them. I'm so glad we had that time together and still glad I have it with Little Hart.
Don Hale was quoted as saying: " I made the living but Shirley(his wife) made the living worthwhile." Raylan and I may have funded the Hires excursions, but the kids have definitely made it a fun ride. Can't put a price tag on all the amazing things we've shared over a coke and fries.
I know when I drive by Hires some 20 years from now or one of my kids do they will have a smile on their face remembering all fun times we shared there! Ok I won't be driving by I'll be pulling in and having a vanilla diet coke.