Sunday, March 2, 2008


What takes you back in time? A sight, a sound, a smell, a taste?

Just last week, I was transported to my childhood simply by seeing an individual-sized bag of peanuts. It's not like I don't see these on a regular basis. We buy them by the boxful at the wholesale warehouse near us, so I'm not really sure why the memory suddenly came barreling up to the surface. But...there it was ~ as clear as day and salty on my tongue.

I grew up in Our Town, which is a very small town ~ the kind of town where "Everybody" knows "Everybody". I even knew most, if not all, of the grownups with whom I came into contact. And they knew me...I was Doc's daughter and Chief's niece. That's all a five-year-old girl needed in order to be important!

Some of my most special memories of childhood are
the times I got to spend with my daddy at the local drugstore coffee shop. It wasn't really a coffee was more like a raised area in the front of the store ~ a platform of sorts ~ that had tables and chairs, a Coke machine, a vending machine, and a coffee pot. No decaf coffee for these cowboys, and no Diet Coke either. The whole machine was filled with nothing but Coca-Cola in frosty little glass bottles. I can still feel the icy cold burn on my throat as the delicious sweetness of the cola coated over any troubles that might have befallen my five-year-old day. Stepping up those two little steps was like stepping into a different world for me. Gone were the crayons, the baby dolls, and the books ~ only to be replaced by cowboy hats, coffee mugs, and cigarettes. (And it must be said here...though I still remember the smoke lingering in the air and the acrid smell on their clothing, all kindly extinguished their cigarettes ~ never once asked to do so ~ out of respect for the non-smoking Doc and his little girl.) Gone were the cries of our new baby and the songs of Sesame Street ~ only to be replaced with the gruff laughter of the cotton farmer talking about the stubborn cow escaping from the pasture and blocking the path of the combine, or the angry groans of the Saturday morning "coaching staff". I felt so important to be sitting there with my dad, undoubtedly the center of attention when I would tell them jokes and recite little poems learned in preschool. One such poem was called "I'm A Little Chatterbox", and it was my "solo" for a preschool program. Though I cannot remember the verses anymore, I do remember that it was a favorite of all the men. They would request it, and I would perform it. Then they would all clap and laugh ~ Uncle Chief always laughing the loudest ~ calling me their little chatterbox. My dad would just grin and laugh along, too, never embarrassed and always willing to bring me back again.

But back to those peanuts...
Last week, I was in the car with Tornado and Twister, and we were sharing a bag of peanuts. I reached down to the cup holder to grab the bottle of Diet Coke sitting there and that was when my memory cracked open like a nutshell. I learned a lot from those men in the drugstore coffee shop. I learned that the football coach is always wrong. I learned that too much rain is not good for a cotton crop. And I learned that a bag of peanuts should be poured down in a bottle of icy cold bottle of Coca-Cola. The way the salt cuts down through the sugary sweetness is near perfection, and if you don't believe me...I dare you to try it!

This post was inspired by the prompt "Time Machine" at
where you can find links to other stories, poems, and thoughts on the same topic.

1 comment:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

What an awesome post.

One day, I'll have both peanuts and Coke and remember to give it a try. Yeah, I'm a Northerner. What can I say?