Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sipping Our Childhoods




I stood in the aisle of Galco's Old World Grocery trying not to cry.  It's not every day a soda standing on the shelf in a grocery store can reduce me to tears, but when my son pointed out the Grapette, well, I pretty much lost it in the store.  





The owner of the store came up and looked at me.  "Grapette?" he said.  I nodded.  "This is the good stuff, not the kind from Walmart.  You gotta go to Guatemala for this.  They are the only ones who have the original formula now."

I stood there and picked up one of the bottles, feeling the way it fit into my hand and my mind went back to a hot July day in Kansas when I was six.

My father was a busy farmer and didn't have much time to spend with me, his fifth daughter, especially during the prime daylight hours.  However, on this day he let me ride the three miles to town with him on the tractor.

The John Deere pop-popped down the rock road, then turned on the paved road into town.  Cars passed us occasionally and meadowlarks flew overheard.  I did not envy either.  I wanted the ride to last forever.  I was riding high, perched on the front of the plywood board that made up the seat of the tractor.  My father sat behind me, his strong hands on the black steering wheel.

Once in town, we got down off the seat and went to the pop machine in front of the lumber yard.  I rarely got soda so I was amazed when Daddy slid the quarter into the machine, opened the small side door and pulled out that bottle of Grapette.  Using the bottle cap opener on the machine, he popped off the lid and handed me the slick, ice cold bottle.

I did not realize it then, but now I think I can safely say that no drink in the world, either before that moment or after that moment ever tasted as good as that one.  It was not the sweetness of the drink as much as the sweetness of the moment.

I was safe.  I was on a grand adventure. I was with my daddy.





As I stood there in the store, holding that bottle, Brian was across the store, holding a bottle of Green River, a drink his father used to buy for him as a treat.  Needless to say,  when we left the store, we had our treasures.





Yesterday on the patio, we opened them up, breathed in the smell and then sipped the sweetness.





It all came back--all of it--retrieved from the distant past.  We sat, side-by-side, each in our own lovely bubble of memory, smiling, feeling lucky and grateful and maybe, just maybe, a little melancholy too.

Cheers to all.

15 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Memories are wonderful to have especially when they appear to you in a shop of all places. Great to read. Loved the photo's also.
Yvonne.

Madi and Mom said...

BB what a beautiful post....there is an store in Valle Crucis, mountains of NC, called Mast General Store. From your description of Galco's Old World Grocery they are the similar with the old blended with the new.
Hugs Madi and mom

annie said...

Yup I can relate.
I have fond memories of coca cola 10 Cents a glass at the drug store fountain one day after a long day at Girl Scout swimming camp.
I was so thirsty and that was the coldest, most refreshing glass of soft drink I have ever had.

Ann said...

nice to relive memories of the good old days

Suburban Correspondent said...

It's amazing how such small things can trigger such huge emotions, isn't it? I surreptitiously sniffed a bottle of Jean Nate at the drugstore the other day, because it reminds me of my mother.

Ms. A said...

This is too eerie! I have no idea why it popped into my head earlier today, (actually it is now yesterday, I just haven't been to bed yet) but I thought of Grapette and my Mom, then I show up here and you are talking about Grapette and your Dad! Oh, the memories!

Gigi said...

The tiniest things can trigger memories long forgotten.

Brian said...

That's exactly why the good old days were darn good!

Leah J. Utas said...

That was wonderful, Bossy Betty.

Stephanie Faris said...

Awwww how beautiful!!! Cracker Barrel was sampling all of those drinks Saturday when we were there. My husband asked, "So, are these drinks 100 years old or are they new?" The guy said, "I don't know. That was before my time." I felt like saying, "That was before OUR time, too, you brat!" But he did say they're classic drinks. He just had no idea what year--they looked like the ones in your pictures, though.

BECKY said...

I am SO glad you are sharing your beautiful writing with us again, Betty! And even if you go away again for a while, I'll come back just to read your archives. I'd forgotten how your writing always drew me in...
I have only a very few memories of special times with my dad, too, and I hang onto them with all my heart.

Connie said...

Such a sweet story and sweet memories too, Betty. I've never heard of either one of these beverages. Glad you got to enjoy them. Happy 4th of July to you!

annie said...

Happy 4th Betty!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

This is a beautiful story and well told, Betty. I don't remember ever having a Grapette, but I do remember those wonderful old pop (Midwestern for "soda") machines with the glass bottles and the bottle cap remover built into the machine.

Pat Tillett said...

I would love to have a Grapette right now.
I miss your great writing and enjoyed the heck out of this post.