Paul McCartney and the Footlong Madeleine

There’s a little drive-in restaurant in Walled Lake that sits right on the water. I’ll always remember it as an A&W but Google informs me that, in a change that I can hazily recall, it briefly shed its corporate parentage and became Tom’s Root Beer Stand before closing its doors for good. Every year, after the last day of school, which was always a half day, my dad would take me and my sister there for lunch. For the better part of a decade, we’d celebrate the completion of another school year as we ate footlongs and chili cheese fries, safe in the (beautifully naive) knowledge that we didn’t have a single responsibility for the next three months. In a time before Sonic’s continental proliferation, that A&W was the only drive in restaurant I had ever seen and that annual trip felt like such an extravagant treat: eating in the car, the servers wearing roller skates, the water right there across the way and the palpable anticipation of a long awaited summer vacation that was about to begin. On one of those trips, probably in 1997 when the album was released, we listened to Paul McCartney’s Flaming Pie as we ate. The album’s high point is its opening track, “The Song We Were Singing”, which celebrates a very particular type of wine-soaked, musical-intellectual reverie while sounding like what might have happened if anyone was having fun during the making of The White Album. It’s lighthearted but mature. And yet when I revisit Flaming Pie I feel anything but mature. All these years later and that album still transports me into my childhood. It’s my own personal drive-in footlong madeleine.

2 thoughts on “Paul McCartney and the Footlong Madeleine

  1. Your story brought back lovely memories! I always looked forward to that last day of school tradition.
    Still one of my favorite post Beatles Maca albums! Mom just recently surprised me with the deluxe boxed set!!!

    All my love!

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