Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)
TITLE: Dr. Pepper - The Other Man in My Life
By Brenda Shipman
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
My love affair with Dr. Pepper began early in my childhood; in fact, I may have gone straight from mother’s milk to DP, who knows. I loved the stuff from my very first sip, and what joy to find out later it was made from prunes, so it actually could be a health food! Yippee!
The bottles were great, with that red and white logo and the numbers 10, 2 and 4. I never did find out what those numbers stood for and it haunts me to this day (along with Chicago’s song “25 or 6 to 4” – what exactly does that mean?!). But no matter, DP out of the bottle was SO much better than drinking it out of the cans of today. The can makes the whole experience less exciting, and let’s be honest, it is difficult to sip out of that oddly shaped hole in the top of the can. It’s just weird. And pleeeease, do not try to convince me that a diet or caffeine-free Dr. Pepper tastes the same as the real deal. That is just plain delusional, and you may need to seek help in getting a firmer grasp on reality.
My sister used to pop the cap off a DP, then put the bottle in the freezer for a few hours until it got all frosty, with icy deliciousness rising up out of the top like some gigantic Dr. Pepper iceberg. Yummo! Mom even made us Dr. Pepper popsicles in the summertime – the perfect treat after hours of splashing around in the lawn sprinkler.
One of my favorite memories of Dr. Pepper is associated with visiting my grandparents, “Ma and Pa”, in Idalou, Texas. As a little girl, and after a two-day drive from Arizona, I would squeal with excitement when our car would finally turn the corner onto Ma and Pa’s street. After lots of hugs and kisses, Ma would go to the fridge and pull out a Dr. Pepper, the kind in a bottle, of course. Then she’d get a jelly jar glass out of the cabinet, plunk in some crescent-shaped ice cubes (I thought those were so cool), and pour in the D.P. This was a ritual, a tradition, and I would have seriously questioned their love for me had they ever ceased to offer that Dr. Pepper! Pa and I would spend a couple hours playing “Murder”, his homemade version of the game Aggravation. We’d roll the dice, move our little golf tees around the plywood board, counting the holes, until one of us would finally have all four of our tees “home”, safe and sound. But the thing I remember most about that time is sipping Dr. Pepper throughout the entire game. It somehow made the memory sweeter.
These days, I save Dr. Pepper for special occasions, times when I really NEED one – like after an hour of yard work in the hot sun; or when I’m cooking dinner and the Doobie Brothers are crankin’ out “Old black water, keep on rollin’…” on my kitchen CD player; or when I’m sad and just need to remember the love of my Ma and Pa.
Whether we realize it or not, most food has some memory attached to it, and that memory evokes an emotion – good or bad, happy or sad. For me, my mom’s chicken and dumplings will ALWAYS mean comfort. Red licorice twists will forever take me back to my childhood, when I collected soda pop bottles around our neighborhood using my little red wagon. I’d redeem the bottles at the convenience store and get a small amount of change to splurge on those chewy twisted goodies. Ma’s coffee cream pie makes me remember wonderful family reunions in which that pie was the grand finale to every meal. It represents family tradition and a scrumptiousness that no one else in the family has been able to mimic.
Food stirs up memories of laughter, love, childhood, fun, comfort and care – even if it’s just a glass of Dr. Pepper. What a blessing that God gave us the gift of taste buds, so that food can be a pleasure. Someone once said, “The turnpike road to people’s hearts I find, lies through their mouths, or I mistake mankind.” Bless someone’s heart today by fixing something simple and delicious.
And now I’m off to the kitchen to rendezvous with the other man in my life. Yes, Dr. Pepper still makes me happy.
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