The Pause That Refreshes…

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 09:36 AM.

            You talk about shinning times!

            When cotton was in and we could make a little spending money we’d gather up in front of Pat Houston’s Grocery and carefully pour a package of Tom’s Peanuts down the neck of a cold Dr. Pepper. There was an art to cupping your hand around the top of that bottle and funneling the peanuts carefully in so as not to spill a single one. We’d munch on the soaked peanuts and talk about the future. Of course, the “future” for us was the ballgame we were “working on” for the afternoon. Or school the next day. And we had lots of meaningful discussions over whether a Sun Drop tastes more like an Upper 10 or a Seven Up.  

            We were just starting out in high school when we discovered the soda fountain in John Motheral’s Drugstore. He’d drop a couple scoops of ice cream into your coke and make a float. We spent a happy hour or two, or a hundred, on those old red bar stools talking about football practice, girls, Mr. Arlie “Chuck” Berry’s science class and maybe letting our hair grow out long like that new singing group in England.

            My first date with Mary Hadley we ended up at Frank’s Dairy Bar starring at each other over a Coca Cola. It was the first time in my life I didn’t notice the taste. It could have been a Grape, Orange Crush, Dr. Pepper or any of the aforementioned “green” colas. I was more interested in her eyes. And her hair. And that incredible smile! I wasn’t thinking about football practice, Coach Smith, a baseball game or the price of eggs in China. I was trying to think of something really intelligent to say…..

            Mary Hadley laughed so easily. And before the moment was gone forever she hinted that she liked me a little too.

            It was the best coke I ever had!

            I can hear Mom to this day reminding me that milk is better for me “than all those soft drinks”. My wife worries that I drink “way too many”. My health conscious son is always on me about the caffeine and the carbonation and the phosphoric acids and the artificial flavors. 



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