When I think back over the days that have flowed past since I first started forming memories, there are certain times that just pop into the front line of my mental vision. Times when I felt especially happy or times that I felt completely content. For me a lot of those moments were made special because of family and mealtimes. That combination is usually a perfect recipe for enjoyment and for making fond memories. One of the things that was ever present during these moments of mine was Coca Cola. Coca Cola, alone, has the power to generate the warm 'n' fuzzy. A lot of you have seen the Coca Cola commercials at Christmas time, right? I mean, those commercials make the most skeptical man, woman and child believe in Santa! Yes, I think you know where I'm coming from. So with that said, let me share with you a memory that always puts a smile on my face.
My dad, who has always been a "MASTER GRILLER", loved to grill on the weekends. He always mixed his own barbecue sauce. It was a special secret barbecue sauce recipe that he invented himself and it included Coca Cola. I can still see him now. He would start out with just a normal "hum drum" bottle of store bought barbecue sauce, dump it in a bowl and start his process. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, a little more of this and a little more of that. Mix, taste, mix, taste. Finally it would be ready for the final crowning ingredient. You could almost feel his giddiness as he got the bottle opener out (back then the soda pop came in glass bottles that had real bottle caps on them that you had to open with a bottle opener - they weren't twist off). It was like watching Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory! He would pop the cap off the bottle of Coca Cola and gingerly pour it in the sauce mixture. After mixing it in, he would taste it one last time and always exclaim, "Perfect!" To this day Dad's barbecue sauce is the best I have ever tasted.
Finally, Dad would proceed to the grill and faithfully baste each piece of chicken over and over again until it was grilled and ready to eat. When I was a kid we were only allowed to drink pop on occasion. Dad's weekend grilling was one of those occasions. So it would be with huge anticipation that we would sit down for the meal as a family. As we ate and drank ice cold coke, we would talk about the ups or downs, or both, of the day. There were six of us total at the table. With four of us being kids, sometimes there was a little jockeying for position to be heard above the other to be sure but it was a great time!
You can see now why Coca Cola is a little sweet spot for me. Someone once said, or maybe I read it on a train stop wall, that it's the little things that add up to one big ball of wonderful! In the long run each detail weaves together to make for very fond memories of when I was a kid. And some of the same details, including drinking ice cold Coke and eating Grandpa's secret recipe BBQ, are now making new sweet memories for my own children.
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