treats of youth.
potentially found in tradition or regular occurrences… generally
built on something simple… often cherished at surprising levels.
title of this essay probably should swap out the coffee with hot
chocolate, since that’s one of the first ideas that races into
my mind. Might have been after playing soccer on a crisp fall
morning, or some weekend event on a chilly day. If a way to bring
hot cocoa into the equation was possible, it had special moment
hot cocoa a foundational element in special-memory-making? I say
yes. Not a required element. Instead, make a list in your mind
of items that always add a little something extra to a moment.
Hot cocoa must be on that list. (Warm chocolate chip cookies and
puppies must be on that list.)
about the only way to shake my conviction on the subject likely
would be to question me on mini-marshmallows. (There are those
that argue two-sides of the hot cocoa equation. Mini-marshmallows
in the cocoa… special. No mini-marshmallows… nice, because of
course, it’s hot cocoa… but not special. Not an argument I agree
with, but I readily admit it has merits.)
was rarely in our home when I was growing up. Before you go applauding
any special considerations for that, water was found in the fridge
even less often. (Which was because we knew to head to the hose
in the yard when looking for water. Duh. Or just use the faucet.)
real reason was that soda was a special occasion beverage. Birthdays,
holidays, guests coming over for dinner and so on. And often…
likely to avoid fights and simply maintain a sense of peace… the
kids were allowed to pick their own bottles if a purchase of soda
was on the shopping list. I always went with strawberry.
think it might have been for two reasons: (1) I’m a Coca-Cola
guy. Even though that was true then and true today, Coke was almost
always around in cans at barbecues and parties and assorted moments.
Making strawberry my selection for a special occasion soda choice
made it exactly that… a special occasion choice. (2) I think,
but can’t today confirm, that both of my sisters hated strawberry
soda. I like it. When you are essentially outvoted in any decision
afforded the kids, two rules of thumb for the outvoted to follow
include: being consistent (everyone knew I would pick strawberry
soda, so I didn’t really even need to be at the store for there
to be a good chance a bottle would show up for the celebration),
and, making choices that don’t tempt your sisters.
to the soccer field on a chilly autumn morning… visible breath…
maybe some frost on the grass.
with how I dubbed strawberry soda the beverage of special occasions,
part of the vision here is establishing a setting. Or, maybe more
precisely, an atmosphere. Great memories and meaningful moments
can occur at the most basic of times. You don’t need a calendar
with highlighted, circled, marked up dates with reminder notices
in order to create meaning.
have no significant statistics of car sales, but it sure seems
like manual transmissions are disappearing. When I was younger,
getting in a car and seeing a stick shift was not at all uncommon.
And if I close my eyes, I have no problems placing myself in the
back seat of a friend’s car, as his father placed a hand over
his son’s on the gear shift while we drove along. (I won’t even
mention the idea of sitting on dad’s lap while driving the final
few hundred yards into the driveway.) Different times… quiet moments…
I am thinking of here though is a bit more. Like a traditional
stop for an ice cream sundae after a school event. But I will
admit… perhaps that bit more isn’t necessary.
side note, because I absolutely cannot resist this. Burger Chef
had two mascots… Burger Chef and Jeff. Do you know who voiced
Burger Chef? That would be Paul Winchell. You know, Tigger.)
remember Burger Chef? They had that amazingly inspired toppings
bar inside their restaurants.
those years before I became a teenager (and probably for a couple
after I reached that mark), my grandfather was known to bring
the grandkids to Burger Chef. It usually happened on days when
he drove to our house on his own, without Meme.
history and legend has it Pepe would say the kids looked like
they needed to eat and we’d wind up loading into his car and heading
off to Burger Chef. Possibly true… more likely his little thing
to say that would then allow him to sneak the kids away, spend
some time with us, while also feeling like he had given our parents
a bit of a break.
miss Burger Chef. A lot. There’s a really good chance if you asked
me about bringing back one place to eat that I can no longer visit,
Burger Chef would be the answer. (And I only say that there’s
a possibility that I would pick something else because I could
be missing something… I don’t think I am, since I don’t have a
second option that comes to mind at all.)
now, though, I’m craving hot chocolate. I’d like to light a fire
out back in the yard and grab some marshmallow fluff to toss in
the mug. Not much better on a perfect fall day.