Growing up in Georgia, the summers are long, hot, and humid. I spent my summers traveling around to visit relatives with my Grandma, who refused to take interstates and only used backroads. My very favorite place to go was to my aunt and uncle's house in Dallas, GA. They lived on about 100 acres, surrounded by a river, mountains, trails, and all types of wild berries. Riding our 4-wheelers through the mountains, we felt like we were all along, on a deserted island and, most definitely, in our own little world.
The visits were wonderful, but there was something that made our trip worthwhile, something even more special than all the other days: our farewell dinner each year. After living in paradise for two weeks, we'd have the most amazing dinner ever. Well, not a 4-star or gourmet dinner by any standards, but a meal any child (or tomboy like me) would look forward to each year. We'd grill out in the streams that surrounded the sides of the house. Yes, in the streams, on sandbars, sat the grill, smoking away while we sat in our fold-out chairs in the shade, splashing our feet in the water. Watermelon would be placed under the water to keep it nice and chilled, BBQ chicken on the grill, homemade potato salad, baked beans (the real kind that are actually grilled), and the must-have by any red-blooded Georgian, Coca-Cola. Coke, yummy! To this day my mouth waters when I think about it. No cookout existed without the final touch. What made Coca-Cola so special? To this very day, there is something about the first taste of coke when poured into a glass over ice or the first sip out of the bottle/can. It's the most refreshing sip of all, especially after a long, hot day of playing in the sun, riding 4-wheelers, and picking blackberries. I'm not sure why, but I always associate Coca-Cola with watermelon and always have a cup when eating watermelon today.
When I think back to my childhood, I warmly remember those southern nights, walking through the cool river, in the shade of the trees. It's an amazing part of my life that nothing can even hold a candle to and Coca-Cola is a part of those memories. In 31 years of life, I cannot remember one time that we went without Coke in our home. It was on every grocery list and stockpiled in our storage room. It's something I associate with my wonderful Grandma, rest her soul, and all the wonderful times we spent together, traveling around the state.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Coca-Cola® blogging program. If I am one of the first 100 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 gift card. For more information on the program, click here.