before i go any further, i'm talking soda.
it was the summer of 1965.
i was invited to stay at my best friend's house on cape cod for a week.
now other than never having been away from home for more than a night nor further than a fifteen minute car ride, there was one other sticky wicket.
flying in an airplane would be required—a first.
alone—a monumental first.
let me explain something.
i was a reluctant oldest child.
i wasn't big with always being the first to try something.
my younger brothers were all so much better suited than i.
i was a better choice for the last position.
"let everything be tested out by others more equipped", was my thinking.
but those were not the cards i was dealt.
and this particular deck was stacked up for a big "no way".
regarding the potential homesick rating, it was drastically reduced by the presence of my best friend's twin sister and her girlfriend who would be visiting at the same time.
they were probably just about the two prettiest girls allowed to be at the same place at the same time—legally.
the thought of hot pink bikinis and wild games of beach blanket bingo surely outmuscled any homesickness potential.
the truth be told, this charming fantasy of mine was not reciprocated.
in fact, knowledge of my visitation could put the kibosh on the whole same place, same time, bikini, bingo delusion.
having said that, keeping my guest appearance a secret was the least of my problems.
the flying thing was a heavyweight in the "no" department.
that is until mom told me i could have as much coke as i wanted on the flight.
as much as i wanted!
yup, the real thing, which we never had in the house, ordaining it the wellspring to so many of my boyhood friendships, leading me to some of the most serious moochings i had unashamedly participated in.
when it was at the top of its sweet game!
when it made upstart pepsi a pedestrian pop by comparison—no better than hoffman or rc cola really.
i owe so much to free coke.
that turned out to be some vacation.
not that any romances blossomed.
there weren't even any bikinis or blankets or bingo for that matter.
quite the opposite actually.
but they were awful pretty those two lasses, and forced to eat dinner with us no less.
some nights even in public, pretty much giving me the appearance of quite the lad about town.
ah ... coke.
and now i think you have to pay for it on flights.
what a shame.
how many young teen boys in the throes of youthful exuberance are stranded home bound because the coke isn't flowing free anymore.
too bad because it really is the real thing.