Posted tagged ‘vanilla coke’

“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.”

February 18, 2016

I have amazed myself. This morning Gracie and I were out and about by 9:45. Perhaps that doesn’t sound early, but it was shortly after I woke up and it was accomplished without coffee, a feat in itself. The first stop on our list was for blood letting, the reason for no coffee. Next stop was the dump though it would be better described as the tundra where a freezing wind blew across the open areas. My trunk was filled, but I was quick to toss the bags into the receptacle then jump back into the warm car. CVS was next for Gracie’s pills. The last stop before home was Dunkin’ Donuts.

Most of my favorite places in my old home town are changed almost beyond recognition or are totally gone. I lived there for eleven years. I remember the sights, smells and sounds of that town. While walking in the square, I could hear the pins falling in the bowling alleys below the movie theater. The alleys as well as some pool tables were at the bottom of a set of stairs. I used to peek through the glass on the door, but I could only see the stairs and a bit of the wooden floor where the stairs ended. Never once did I venture down. I didn’t know anyone who did. I only remember the sound.

Uptown sometimes smelled like popcorn. Down a narrow street off the square was a small place where candy and popcorn were made. It had a counter at the front of the store where you could buy the candy and popcorn, always cheaper than at Star Market. They were packaged in plastic bags with only the name of the contents on the front. I didn’t know the name of the small plant which made them. I only remember the smell, the aroma.

Two drugstores were in the square. One was small with only four stools at the soda fountain while the other had a long marble counter and several stools. I could get a free coke from the small one if I was with my father. I had to pay at the other drug store, but it was only a dime. I always ordered a vanilla coke. The soda jerk started by putting the vanilla syrup in the glass, then added coke syrup and finally the fizzy water as we used to call it because we didn’t know what it was. The drink was never served with ice. I used a straw from the metal container to sip my drink. I don’t think I have ever tasted a better coke.

I remember every store. I could give you a tour of what was. I remember the green police box which stood in the middle of the road where three streets met until someone hit it and the box could not be saved. During the day shoppers walked up and down Main Street. Some shoppers carried paper bags while others wheeled wire baskets behind them. At night the movie theater marquee was lit. The stores were closed for the night. There were some street lights which were decorated every Christmas. Even now after all these years I can close my eyes and see it all.

“If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday”

August 12, 2014

I know it’s late, but I met an old friend for lunch. He found me on Facebook and we decided to get together. It was a great day of drinking coffee, eating lunch and catching up with one another. I haven’t seen him in years so we had a lot of this and a lot of that to share.

Yesterday the red spawn lost its mind. I know this because it kept coming back to the feeder despite being hosed by me with the nozzle on jet. I was inside when I first heard the red spawn chatting, clicking and yelling at something so I went outside to investigate. It was on the feeder. I streamed the hose water, and it ran. I sat for a few minutes, and it came back to the feeder. I let him have it again, and he got soaked but not enough to deter him because he came back from a different direction. His spawn brain must have thought I wouldn’t figure that one out. He got squirted then jumped on branches close to me. I actually wondered if he was headed to get me, but when I hosed again, the spawn finally left the yard to go next door. It was chattering the whole while, and I have a feeling he was talking about me.

Today is another lovely day. It is about 76˚ and sunny. Tomorrow it will rain but then on Thursday we’ll be back to another beautiful summer day. We have been spoiled by the perfect weather this season: warm days and cool nights.

When I was young, I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to time especially in summer when one day was the same as another. The only exceptions were, of course, the weekends. On Saturday my dad was home. He did yard stuff like mowing and raking and also went up town to do his own errands: shirts to the Chinese laundry, a trim at the barber shop and a stop to say hello to his friend Pulo, the pharmacist in his own drugstore. Once in a while my dad asked me to come, and I would. I liked the Chinese laundry even though it was always hot and steamy. The double ironing board, with a top and bottom, was by the window, and the Chinese laundry man was always ironing pants. He’d hold the top down and steam would shoot out from the sides. He’d then lift the top, turn the pants over, close the machine and steam would shoot out again. I loved watching that machine. My dad’s shirts were always folded and wrapped in brown paper. From the laundry, we’d walk a little bit to the barber shop. Years later I realized that Floyd in Mayberry could very well have worked at my dad’s barber shop. It had only two seats and one barber. All the men sat waiting and chatting with each other. I stood and watched the barber trim my dad’s hair then my dad and I headed over to Pulo’s. While my dad and Mr. Pulo talked, I was given a drink from the soda fountain, usually a vanilla coke. Pulo’s was a small drug store, and there were only four stools at the fountain. Mr. Pulo always wore a white coat and would step from behind the pharmacy part of the store to talk to my dad. That was our last stop. My dad and I would walk back to the car and we’d go home. It didn’t matter how many times I went with my dad on Saturdays because I loved every time as if it were the first.