Coke and other memories

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

My young teenager came back home after viewing the last installment of the Harry Potter film series. I always appreciated the fact that the book and film series was a delight for my daughter, but I was never into the kids who attended the Hogwarts academy. As she was telling my certain details of the film and its rather long running time, I couldn’t help but notice the large cup of Coke.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s a small Coke from the theater,” she non-chalantly replied.

“It’s gigantic!” I observed.

“Yeah, and look at this, it says on the cup, ‘Next Time Make it a Large,’” she joked.

Really? This $5.00 tumbler of Coke should be large?

“Don’t throw it out, Daddy!” my daughter pleaded.

“You want to keep drinking this poison? You’ll be up all night,” I replied.

Needless to say, it took most of the weekend for my daughter to finish the Coke supply. I’m not too keen on keeping Coke in the house. On Ohio’s north coast, I was mainly raised on Pepsi, except for the occasional RC Cola at Arby’s or Canada Dry at my grandparents’ apartment. Believe me, I have the dental fillings to prove my soda – or in Ohio-speak, “pop” consumption.

I have been in the South since the late 1980s and I have welcomed limited supplies of Coke into my beverage repertoire. I’ll never forget when my work colleague dined with me at a restaurant on Ponce when I first moved here.

“What would you like to drink?” the waiter asked.

“Pepsi,” I said just like every clueless northerner before me.

“You’re in Atlanta, man, it’s always Coke,” the waiter informed me.

My friend laughed and then taught me how to correctly pronounce the road Ponce de Leon as, “Ponce – de – Lee-on.”

“That’s totally wrong,” I argued.

“Yeah, but you can’t tell anyone around here that,” my friend confessed.

So here I am years later, saying “Ponce—de—Lee—on” and always referring to Coke regardless of the soda brand – even when I’m visiting Ohio and the natives all sound strange saying, “pop.” I’m an Accidental Southerner who has grown an appreciation for this region. Through the years, I saw how the not-so-famous and famous alike have been addicted to Coke in the South. I observed fellow part-time Peach State resident Elton John gulp the diet version on state through several concerts that I saw him in down here. Even then-President Bill Clinton sipped Diet Coke throughout his eight-plus-hour grand jury testimony in 1998. I’ll have the occasional Coke with the occasional fried chicken or okra, but not the bucket size that the movie theaters offer. I would hate to see what the large-size movie theater Coke looks like. I’m sure a family of five wouldn’t be able to finish the supply before the end of the last Harry Potter film.

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