Written by speacial birthday request for a friend who, like me, has a special place in their heart for those vintage Ronald McDonald tapes they used to sell at your local Golden Arches drive-thru. Happy Birthday never sounded so sweet!
The alarm clock rang and Ronald McDonald waved a cheery hello to the sun who'd thoughtfully shone its first rays next to his slumbering head.
He waited until he felt Sundae hop off the foot of the bed before throwing off the covers and bounding for his magic mirror for a quick change. Pausing as he found himself scrutinizing his reflection, feeling as if there was something wrong about the outfit the magic mirror had chosen for him.
With a snap of his fingers and a cheery, "Aha!," Ronald winked at the mirror and gave another twirl.
"Why the double change, Ronald? Magic Mirror forget to do the laundry again?" Sunday asked from where he was sitting. Waiting patiently for his big clown friend to be ready for breakfast.
"Nope," Ronald said with a giggle, "I just remembered that today isn't just any old day, Sundae."
"Oh? What about it makes it not like 'any old day'? Weather expected to be extra perfect?" Sundae asked with a head tilt that gave him a perfect view of the clear sky outside.
"Not that I've heard of," Ronald said as he gave his fresh outfit an appreciative look. Enjoying the large pocket on the front flap of the full length overalls, the comfy long sleeved shirt, and the handkerchief thoughtfully tucked into a handy-dandy side pocket. All in his signature, yellow, red, and white coordinated color combo.
"Then what's with the fancy outfit?" Sundae asked. Stomach growling out a complaint at the hold up.
Sparing a moment to chuckle at the funny sound, Ronald thanked the mirror for humoring him and turned to his best friend before answering. "Well, you see, Sundae: Today just happens to be the day I promised to take a trip out to the farm. Can't go out to the farm in my everyday outfit, now can I?"
"Can? Yes," Sundae said as he stood to follow the well dressed clown from the bedroom toward the place they ate breakfast. "Whether you want to though? That's a whole 'nother can of worms there, pal."
"Ha! I guess you're right, Sundae," Ronald said as he sat at their island and picked up his spoon. Eager to put some breakfast in his belly. "And today especially? I really want to," he added, right before a bowl full of his favorite oatmeal popped out of their food delivery tube. Steaming just enough to prove it was fresh and ready for eating.
"Why is that, Ronald? You got somebody to impress? Other than the cows and chickens and tractors and cute little piglets that go 'oink' while they nap in the mud wallows and-"
Ronald couldn't help but snort around his bite of perfectly prepared oats at the speculation. "As a matter of fact, I am bringing someone along. Can you guess who?"
"Not on an empty stomach. Ask me again after I finish off this chicken cacciatore," requested the four legged friend who chose to eat his meals under the table.
"Alright then. 'After' breakfast," Ronald promised. Figuring it was a good idea to save talking for when his mouth wasn't full of mush anyway. Good manners and all.
Once the food delivery tubes had un-delivered the dirty dishes, and both Ronald and Sundae had brushed their teeth, the two turned to each other and with a shared nod, agreed they were ready to continue their paused conversation.
"So, can you guess who I'm taking to the farm?" Ronald asked with a mysterious smile.
"Well, I'm pretty sure it's not me. Considering I'd already know if it was."
"I like your logic, Sundae."
"Thanks, Ronald. I worked hard to perfect it."
"Well, it shows."
"Heh," Sundae laughed in a rather bashful way. "Alright, well, it's not me, so maybe, Hamburglar? No, that's not right. He'd just end up trying to take a cow home with him because it looked 'lonely'," he reasoned with a shake of his head.
"Well, you're on the right track," Ronald encouraged.
"Alright. Not me, and not Hamburglar. How about Birdie? No, she'd end up trying to take a chicken home so she could teach it how to fly."
"Well, you're three for three there, pal."
"Hm. Not me, not Hamburglar, not Birdie. That leaves… Mayor McCheese? No, he doesn't like getting his spats dirty- Oh! I know who it is! I figured out who you're taking to the farm, Ronald!" Sundae declared with a happy bark.
Ronald chuckled at the excited tail wagging and motioned for Sundae to go on.
"Today's a special day because you're taking Grimace to see the farm!"
"Absolutely right, Sundae! Great detective skills, as always!" Ronald said as he bent to give his furry friend a scratch behind the ears. Chuckling when it made a little doggy tail thump against the floor in appreciation.
After making sure Sundae had plenty of food and water, and his favorite music ready to play in case he felt like dancing in the living room, Ronald walked out his front door and pointed his feet in the right direction. Which just so happened to be the one that took him to the McDonaldland train station. Where a certain purple someone was already waiting. Wringing a boarding ticket between nervous hands and trying not to bump into anyone as he stood still on the front steps of the main entrance.
"Howdy, Grimace! Boy, you sure got here early," Ronald said with a smile. Chuckling when his soon-to-be travel companion jumped just a bit before turning to wave hello.
"Duh, morning, Ronald! Uh, I was just so excited, I had to get here early! I didn't want them to run out of tickets," Grimace explained as he held up a non-wrinkled, second boarding ticket. Which Ronald reached out and accepted with a nod of thanks.
"Gee, Grimace, that sure was thoughtful of you. Though, I have my suspicions that we won't need to worry about that happening for this particular trip."
"Oh? why is that, Ronald?" Grimace asked with a little, confused… grimace.
"Mm, mostly because this train only stops the one place and no one else in McDonaldland has plans to go out to the farm today," Ronald explained as he motioned toward the train station's main entrance.
"How- how would you know something like that, Ronald?" Grimace asked as they started off for the entrance and the boarding platform beyond.
"It's not a regular farm visiting day. If you look at the calendar, it says McDonald farm isn't open to the public today," Ronald said as he held up a folded brochure. Pointing to where it said exactly what he'd just said it would.
"Uh, but, Ronald," Grimace started with a worried furrow to his brow, "if the farm's closed, how are we gonna say 'hi' to all the animals? Or walk through the corn maze? Or-"
"Don't worry, Grimace," Ronald assuaged with a hand set on his purple friend's shoulder, "We'll be able to do everything we want, just fine. After all, it is my farm."
"Oh. Right. I, uh, I forgot about that part," Grimace said. The hint of a smile starting as he realized they weren't going to miss out on all the things they'd been looking forward to.
Ronald chuckled as they reached the correct platform and stopped in front of the open train door to make a sweeping motion with one arm. Then, at the end of his following, prim and proper bow, he said in a formal voice, "Your coach, my good Sir."
"Duh, Ronald, you're starting to sound funny! Are you sure you're feeling up to a trip to the farm after all?"
"Don't worry, Grimace, I was just being fancy," the clowning clown explained as he helped his purple friend not look down while they stepped up and into the train.
"Wow. Cozy," said a Grimace who's eyes had gone wide as soon as they'd adjusted to the inside lighting.
"Yeah, McDonald Rail likes to put their best foot forward, so they designed their trains with comfort in mind. That way, every passenger has a good time and no one has to settle for 'the uncomfortable seat'." Ronald held up the brochure again and pointed to a different page which he'd again managed to recite from memory.
"Wow. That's amazing," Grimace said as he looked over the different seats available to them. "Can we sit anywhere we want?"
"Absolutely. We'll be the only ones here so we can sit anywhere, sing as loud as we want, and even switch seats for the whole ride without bothering anybody."
"Can we really switch seats for the whole ride?" Grimace asked with a pair of eyes stuck as wide as Ronald had ever seen them.
"Yep. The whole ride. If you want to, of course."
"Oh, boy, do I!" Exclaimed the purple friend as he hurried over to a comfy looking seat by the closest window. Kneeling on the cushy surface so he could gaze out the portal at the busy station outside.
Ronald couldn't help but laugh at the way his traveling buddy started bouncing with anticipation. Then he couldn't help it when the laughs doubled in intensity as the train lurched to a start and his easily startled friend clutched the back of the seat for dear life.
Grimace joined in the moment he realized everything was proceeding exactly as it was meant to. Then the two McDonaldland citizens took their first seats of the journey, and started in on their first of many Travel Tunes. Accompanied by a wonderful backing track which always seemed to know which song they were going to sing next.
"Here it is: McDonald farm!" The clown in the oversized shoes announced with arms widespread and head held high and proud.
"Uh, doesn't it look kinda small for a farm?" Asked Ronald's intrepid travel buddy. Squinting, as he did, off in the direction of a much smaller, steeple topped structure.
Ronald allowed himself a giggle, realizing he was going to be doing quite a bit of that on this particular farm visit, and gave a great big purple shoulder an affectionate tap. Making sure he had Grimace's attention before pointing at the main barn.
"Oh. That's better."
"Heehee, you did a good job spotting the chicken coop," Ronald encouraged as he began up the drive toward the main gate of the waste high farm fence which encircled the majority of the property.
"Oh. Uh, looks like those chickens have a pretty nice house. It's just like the cow house, only smaller."
"Yep. The barn, the coop, even the shed, all match," Ronald said as he opened the gate for himself and his travel buddy.
"Wouldn't that get a little confusing for the animals? Every home looking exactly the same like that?" Asked Grimace, to the soft click of the gate closing itself behind them.
"Hm. I suppose it could," Ronald said with a hard think hand to his chin. "Except that they're all different sizes!"
"Oh yeah. That does make them look pretty different, when you think about it," Grimace said with a chuckle.
"Heh, I guess it does. Good thing too," Ronald agreed. Before pointing off to somewhere between the big barn and the coop. "I bet the hutch'll be the perfect place to start the fun!"
"Wh-what's at 'the hutch'?" Grimace asked. The hint of worry hidden in his stutter. "Does it have long, sharp teeth?"
"Well, sorta," Ronald admitted. Attempting to soften the news with an unconcerned shrug before starting off for what he was confident would soon be Grimace's new favorite place to pay a visit.
"Uh, in that case, maybe I should stay here while you have fun-"
"Nonsense," Ronald said in a gentle voice as he returned to take his friend by one trembling arm. "You'll like these little fellas, I'm sure of it."
"Uh, well, if you're sure they aren't too scary," Grimace said with a knock-kneed shudder. Using his other arm to reach out and grab a hold of Ronald's sleeve, near the farm appropriate, reinforcing elbow patch.
"Oh, they're not scary at all. I promise," Ronald assured in his surest sure voice. Offering his open hand when Grimace still hesitated, then smiling a warm smile when his exploring buddy let go of his sleeve to take the hand in a firm, familiar grip.
"Alright, off to the 'hutch', then!"
And the two strolled off toward the spot between the barn and the coop in search of their first animal stop of the day.
"You were right, Ronald! These fuzzy 'little fellas' aren't scary at all!" Grimace exclaimed in an excited whisper as the giggling clown bent to set yet another of the creatures in his purple friend's quick filling arms. "But I don't see any long, sharp teeth?"
"Oh, they only use those on carrots. And sometimes cabbage," Ronald explained. Picking up a brown and grey fuzzy of his own before sitting in the grass by his bunny covered friend.
"Haha, this one's tasting me. And it tickles!"
"See? Just like I said: not scary at all."
"I never doubted you, Ronald. Or, definitely not once you said 'promise'," Grimace amended with a sheepish smile. Petting no fewer than four bunnies with nothing but his chin as he snuggled them tenderly to his chest.
The sight made Ronald's happy smile soften around the edges, as it reminded him of just how kind his imposing, purple friend absolutely was. From his soft, gooey center all the way out to the tips of his bunny filled fingers.
"I know, Grimace. I'm just glad that, even though you were scared, you took my hand and came to the hutch with me. These fellas love the attention and the more the merrier," Ronald assured, pulling a carrot from his handy-dandy side pocket and offering it to his bunny. So his bunny-petting buddy could watch from a safe distance as the tiny critter used its 'long, sharp teeth' to nibble at the delicious snack.
"Oh, I saw them," Grimace whispered from where he'd hidden half of his face behind his protective curtain of wriggly little farm critters. "Heh. They're kinda yellow."
"I guess they're bound to be when you eat as many carrots as these little fellas do," Ronald said as he set down the carrot to free up his hand for petting his bunny again. Making sure the slightly nibbled vegetable was in comfortable, tempting reach of his timid friend. Just in case.
"Yeah..." Grimace said, as Ronald pretended not to be watching one, carefully emptied of bunnies arm reach out to the side. Hand slowly closing around the orange tuber. "You think their teeth would still be yellow if they had tiny toothbrushes to clean them with? Even if they still ate lots of carrots?"
Ronald giggled at the adorable picture his thoughtful friend's idea created in his mind. "You know, Grimace? I bet their teeth would be a whole lot less yellow if they brushed before bed."
"And in the morning," Grimace reminded.
"Yes, especially then," Ronald agreed. watching as his sensitive friend readjusted his hold on the bunny food so that his fingers were as far from the nibbling end as possible and worked up the courage to offer it to the sleepiest looking of his furry, flop-eared friends.
Ronald smiled every inch as wide as his big, purple friend when the bunny took its first, meek, cautious bite.
Hm. Come to think of it: that bunny was starting to remind him of someone.
Next animal visit, after the fuzzy little creatures all went happily back in their bunny hutch, was in the sty. where the adorable piglets laid snorting and oinking in their cozy, muddy pens. Saving their energy for lunchtime, when every one of them would be as excited as any single person in McDonaldland hearing the jingle of an ice cream cart on a particularly hot day.
After Grimace perfected his piglet imitation, promising the muddy little quadruped that he'd put the skill to good use by fooling all his friends back home into thinking there were piglets under the carpets, the clown and the grimace wandered through the undaunting, kiddie sized of the farm's corn mazes, stopped by the chuck wagon for a little lunch, and ended up digesting the garden fresh eats in the shade of an apple tree. Watching a feisty colt kicking its hind hooves in an unamused donkey's face. Showing good control of its spindly, horsey limbs as it got closer and closer without ever touching so much as a tall, twitchy, annoyed donkey ear.
"Ronald?" Asked Grimace from his seat next to his yellow overalled friend.
"Yeah, Grimace?" Asked Ronald from his seat next to his ever purple friend.
"Why did we come out to McDonald Farm today?"
"Because… it's a great place to meet farm animals, eat farm food, and watch a chick hatch from a farm laid egg," Ronald explained. Feeling just a tinge of unease as he worried that maybe Grimace hadn't enjoyed the morning as much as he'd looked like he had.
"Duh, I haven't seen that last thing yet, but all that other stuff is true," the purple guy agreed in a content sort of voice. Easing Ronald's worry without even trying. "Uh, but, why did we come out to McDonald Farm today, today?"
"Oh, that's an easy one, Grimace. Because today's your birthday, and a birthday deserves to be just as special as the one celebrating it."
"Oh. Right. Hee. I think I was so excited I forgot that part." Ronald's forgetful friend admitted, amid more than one bashful chuckle.
"That's understandable," reassured the one in the exceedingly fun and fashionable farm outfit. Stretching his legs a little farther out in front of himself as the busy colt began running tight circles around the poor donkey who looked like it just wanted to be left alone. So it could find something tasty to chew on.
"...Ronald?" Asked the birthday grimace, after the colt finished its game and decided it was time for a little lay down in the comfy green grass.
"Yeah, Grimace?" Ronald asked back in a soft voice. Not wanting to wake the baby horse from its nap so soon.
"...Thanks for making my birthday as special as the friend who owns this farm."
Ronald's eyes went wide as the meaning to his friend's words sunk in, and once the full force of the sincere thanking reached his heart, the clown in the overalls finally found a good use for the handkerchief in his handy-dandy side pocket.
Dabbing at his eyes as they threatened to spill over with happy-tears, Ronald took in a breath and turned to his ultimately special, purple friend. "I'm glad you enjoyed the bunnies so much."
"Ha," Grimace chuckled as he reached out and took Ronald's free hand in a comforting hold. "Do you think we could visit them again before we take the train back? I'm gonna miss the little fellas."
"We can do anything you want, Grimace. After all, it is your birthday," Ronald reminded with a gentle sniffle.
"Oh yeah. I think I forgot again for a second there."
The shared laughter woke the baby horse from its peaceful, still moment and within seconds it was back to tormenting the good natured, short on 'me time' donkey. Which only made the two McDonaldland friends laugh harder as they helped each other up from their seats in the shade of the thoughtfully placed apple tree.
The rest of the farm was explored, all the other animals were met by a large purple friend, and last but not least, the bunnies were paid one more visit and fed another carrot by their biggest fan.
Eventually though, the train tooted its horn, letting its two passengers know that it was ready to pull out of the McDonald Farm station. So Ronald McDonald and his best friend, the Birthday Grimace, made their way back and loaded themselves on just in time for the impatient train. Even dragging their feet the way they were. Reluctant to leave such a wonderful visit behind. Comforted by the knowledge that they'd always be able to visit again, in their memories if not sooner in person.
The birthday gang took their seats, by the farthest window this time, and began humming as the countryside began to slide on by.
Before long, Ronald noticed Grimace's eyes beginning to droop and smiled to himself as his friend rested his purple head right next to the overall strap on his shoulder. Probably without even noticing he wasn't sitting straight anymore.
"Thanks again, Ronald. Today was the perfect birthday," said a sleepy, happy voice as its owner accidentally fell all the way asleep.
Yep. Today had been perfect, thought the happiest clown in all of McDonaldland. His best friend snoozing soundly against his shoulder as the smooth rocking of the McDonald Rail train promised them a speedy trip home.
He couldn't wait until Grimace found out about the surprise party waiting for him back at the train station.
Hope this little story helped make your special day just that little bit extra specail!