Titles - Writing prompt - were given a poem and asked to write about titles or a childhood memory. Feel free to add your own writing, and your name, below.

Bud Hunt

It might be time to write about Coke. Not because I particularly want to have one, or because I am thinking about the alleged sweetness of a Mexican Coke, sold in glass bottles and sweetened with sugar instead of corn syrup, but because of Pa's fridge, and my access to it, and the stock of cold glass Coca-Cola's, and eventually, Coca-Cola Classics, that I could find within. In the shelf on the door were Reese's cups, too. Sometimes smooth, other times chunky, the two together will always be something that will take me back to his little four-room house, the squeaking of leather, the hiss of the living room furnace, and the smell of Skin Bracer and "old people."

How many meals consisted of those two items, or perhaps some Nabs peanut butter crackers, or just the Coke alone? How many meals of mine were spoiled by those treats, always available, always cold, always good?

When he came to live with us, the Coke was in plastic bottles, or in cans, and it just wasn't the same. Dad's green cloth chair, Pa's home in our living room, wasn't the same, either, but Pa sat there and held court, always reminding me to "take care of your girlfriend," or that he loved me, too. The Mmm-Mmm of a hug. The frailty of that old man. The strength of his character. I will never not miss him.

One summer, the summer I discovered the Cranberries and lived in Colorado and knew that nothing was more important than hanging with my friends from church rather than traveling to my old home in North Carolina, one of the last times I'd see him in his house, we stayed with Pa, my dad and I, overnight while my sister and brother and mother stayed with my aunt, her sister, who lived across town. I couldn't sleep well, sharing the big four poster bed with my father, and the portable CD player, and the Cranberries, laying or lying awake and missing the place I live now, and miss right now, and not realizing how much I'd miss that place where I was. I don't want to go back there now, so much, but I do want to go back there then, if only to look around one more time.

When they tore down his home, they built a convenient store on top of the space where my sister and I would prance up and down the three brick steps, where we would swing on the creaky porch swing, where we would walk to the swings of the city park and then to Love's Grocery store, where the butcher who was mayor and was my father's boss for so long would come from behind the counter and help us find the ice cream, and more Coke in glass bottles, and would stand with us while he and my father told stories that I didn't understand and wish I could remember.

Then we'd walk back, or drive back to Pa's house, and sit and swing and talk and listen and just be. On the drives home, along clay-banked roads penned in by pine trees, I'd sometimes fall asleep and other times read. Still other times my dad would explain things that were important to him and, so, essential to me. I can't tell you what we talked about, features and benefits, perhaps, but I can tell you that riding shotgun with my dad, headed to see Pa, is something I want back so badly.

___