If the folks at Lee's Drive-In in Bellingham thought they'd close down and slowly, quietly slip into obscurity, they were wrong.

Very, very wrong.

The hour-long wait for food on Friday was 40 people deep at times. Customers patiently waited for the signature burgers, fried chicken, and fish & chips.

"We've been coming here for generations," said David Galbraith while eating a piece of fried chicken. "This place means a lot to all of us."

Lee's has been in business for 61 years. It was started by Lee Trott in 1957 and taken over by his son, Tim, who has run the drive-in for the past half-century.

Tim spent much of Thursday and Friday running back and forth to the store. So many people came to say goodbye, the restaurant kept running out of food.

"I want to stop and talk to everybody because everybody has a story about coming here, but there's no time right now," said Loren Dolan, one of three Dolan sisters to have worked at Lee's over the years.

Tim said recent health issues contributed to the closing of the drive-in.

Paul Porter and a group of friends gathered in their usual booths and sipped coffee as waitresses whizzed by Friday. He has literally been coming to Lee's since it opened -- his entire life.

"It hasn't killed me yet, so the food's ok," Porter joked.

As crazy as these final days have been, to Porter and his old friends, Lee's remains a calming place, a second home.

"This is my sanity," said Mike Daniels.

The craziness continued back in the kitchen, but it was a sort of choreographed chaos.

Cooks Kristi Latshaw and Valerie Johnson have worked together for more than 30 years. They have developed a rhythm where, even in the busiest of times, they flow like deep fried dancers around each other in the cramped space.

They consider each other family.

"I kinda started to cry on my way here today," said Kristi. "It's hard to think about not seeing some of these people again."

The last day of operation for Lee's Drive-In is this Sunday, October 28.