You deserve a break ... this century

Source: Savannah Morning News
Author: Paula Reed Ward
Date: May 21, 2002


She managed to make it 94 years without a Big Mac.

Without a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

And without a single Chicken McNugget.

On Monday, she had all three and more in her first trip ever to a fast-food restaurant.

About four weeks ago, 94-year-old Katherine Sheppard was talking with other residents at Riverview Health and Rehabilitation Center when she said she had never been asked, "Would you like fries with that?"

So activity Therapy Director Stan Adams called Pat Tracy, the owner of the McDonald's at Eisenhower and Waters.

Together, they organized the hour-long venture Monday, which started with Sheppard arriving in a shiny red Toyota MR2 Spyder convertible.

To mark the occasion, Tracy made Sheppard a goodie bag, complete with a purple McDonald's straw; an original ceramic McDonald's coffee mug; a small, stuffed Ronald McDonald doll; and an old-style McDonald's paper hat -- signed by the crew.

They also greeted Sheppard, who has three sons and nine grandchildren, with a red-and-white banner: "Welcome Mrs. Sheppard," complete with M's made out of the Golden Arches.Tony Calandra, also 94, made the occasion even more special by helping Sheppard out of the car and escorting her into the restaurant.

"At 94 years, we wanted her to have the best time ever at a fast-food restaurant," Tracy said.

The owner helped Sheppard place her order, getting her a Big Mac, a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal, a Filet-O-Fish sandwich and both chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.

"The fish sandwich is a complete surprise," Sheppard said. "I love fish, and I didn't know a fish sandwich could be so tasty."

Even though she was so complimentary of the fish, which she shared with her son, Sheppard's favorite food was the Big Mac.

She also said she really liked the oatmeal cookies.

"I think the oatmeal was something new," she said. "It was unusual."

To save room for her lunch, Sheppard had only hot tea for breakfast Monday.

"I didn't have a darn thing to eat," she said.

Edward Sheppard, who joined his mother for her trip, said he could only explain her lack of fast-food experience by saying that she's always cooked.

"She's cooked for everybody and his brother for all these years," he said.

Her best meals include a seafood gumbo and shrimp salad. Relying on her cooking knowledge, 61-year-old Edward still calls his mother at Riverview asking her for advice. Just this weekend, he called her to find out how to make ham salad.

Sheppard, who's been at Riverview for two years, participates each year in the center's beauty pageant. On Monday, dressed in a dark green dress, coat and hat -- along with green St. Patrick's Day beads -- she traded her green hat for the paper crew hat, becoming an honorary crew member.

After eating part of the fish, the hamburger and the chicken, Sheppard heard she would also get a trip through McDonald's drive-thru.

When she heard the restaurant had ice cream -- she screeched, "You do? That's super!"



Questions, comments and criticisms can be directed to: Jeff