Enjoying a Coke with Grand Daddy Straw
Some of my fondest memories of my childhood involve spending time with my grand father Strawbridge. We called him Daddy Straw.
Many of the stories I don’t actually remember, but they have been told and retold in our family for many years. Just keep in mind that we never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
One of my earliest adventures of drinking a coke with my Daddy Straw involves me sitting with a really large coke bottle when I was just a toddler. A visitor to our shop commented saying; “That’s a really big coke for such a little fellow.” According to my granddad, my response was; “Yep, it reaches all the way up to my mouth.”
We always had a Coke machine in the shop and it was set to keep the drinks ice cold. The perfect temperature was so that when you released the pressure by opening the top, a few ice crystals would form on the surface of the drink. The six and a half ounce size was considered the best. Rumor had it that the thicker glass allowed more pressure from the carbon dioxide so they had more bite than the taller ten ounce size.
One hot summer day, a farmer brought in a tractor wheel with bolts that were rusted solid and could not be removed. He had hoped my grandfather could heat them with his torch and get them loose. Daddy Straw had him lay the wheel down and suggested they have a Coke before they got started. As he sat down by the wheel, he casually poured a bit of his drink over each of the stuck bolts.
They sat and talked while they enjoyed their ice cold Cokes. Finally, my granddad walked over top the tool box and got a wrench to fit the bolts. He worked them back and forth a bit and then easily unscrewed them. The farmer was amazed. When Daddy straw explained that the acid in the Coke had dissolved the rust and loosened the nuts, the farmer exclaimed that he would never drink Coca Cola again!
Coke bottles also served as gaming devices in those days. Each bottle had a place molded into the bottom of the bottle representing where the bottle was manufactured. Since the bottles were recycled at the bottler, the bottles tended to travel around some but not much. We had a map on the wall of the shop with a string pinned at our location of Gibson, Mississippi. The game was to see who had the bottle form the farthest away.
One day, the guys were sitting down for a drink and began tossing in their money in to the pot for the Coke Bottle game. On this day, the pot grew to quite a bit more than usual. The bottles were read and the string was pulled to determine the winner. The guy who pulled the bottle from south Mississippi was quite excited as the counted the pot. One old fellow was sitting there drinking his Coke with his bad leg propped up. When he finished his Coke he turned the bottle over and re read the location. To his surprise, he had not noticed that his bottle was from Houston, Texas instead of Houston, Mississippi just down the road. They say his paralyzed leg jumped a foot off the table when he jumped up to reclaim his winnings.
Another story that is told about me is the time I interrupted my grand dad to have him “spit” a coke with me. My grand dad was always very patient with me even if he had no idea what I was talking about. He took the empty coke bottle I had and held it to his mouth and spit in it. I was outraged! He could not understand why I was mad for doing what I asked of him.
I got another empty bottle and guided him to the Coke machine. You see, we had a custom of sharing a coke together by him pouring part of his drink into a bottle for me. When we got to the coke machine, he finally understood that I wanted him to “split” a coke with him, not spit in it!
My best memories of my Grand Daddy Straw really do involve a Coke and Smile.