Friday, December 18, 2009

Memories of Hot Dr. Pepper

The past two weeks, I've been fighting a nagging case of bronchitis. Hot drinks seem to help. Walking through the grocery today, I noticed big bottles of Dr. Pepper and impulsively picked up one. When I was a young woman, in the 1970s, I did a fair amount of travelling for business. I didn't mind it then because I was still single with a heavy case of wanderlust. For ten days every June, I travelled to work my nonprofit's annual convention. I was in program development for which we set up a booth of materials. Members were always interested in the latest issue or program we had to offer and the more years I went, the better it got seeing old friends among the members and other exhibitors. Sipping on my hot Dr. Pepper and lemon today reminds me of the convention week when I practically lived on hot Dr. P. and Claxton fruit cake samples. Both had exhibit booths near mine and gave away free samples all day. People may joke about fruit cake, but theirs was really good. I could never get away for lunch, so I was grateful for the free samples. All that sweetness eventually got to me, but it was better than going hungry. For roughly 10 hours a day, I manned that booth with a cheesy grin on my face. My day started around 6 a.m. with setting up workshop rooms. Then it was into the booth for 10 hours. After a quick supper, we worked on setting up for evening workshops. Frankly, I'm not sure how we survived. We were not compensated for overtime, either. A few years later, some liberated women came to work for this old women's organization and the shit hit the fan. They were ready to sue the organization for the lousy treatment of it's staff. Long and short of it is that we eventually were allowed comp. time for all the extra hours. Coming off that convention schedule, it took several days just to get our heads screwed on straight again and our bodies back in sync, so that was a good thing. With that little show of courage, one morning I made a comment about "Tricky Dick" to someone in the coffee room. Even though I was not talking loud, nor was I addressing her, the battle axe who ran the headquarters got red in the face with anger and told me to never use that term again when talking about "our president." Being young and dispensable, I clammed-up. To this day I regret not having the courage to confront her.
All those memories came flooding back just from drinking hot Dr. Pepper! I shudder to think about what would come back if I ate any fried catfish . . . don't want to go there!


Mark said...

It's funny how something as simple as drinking that drink can conjure up so many memories.
That battle ax must have had some really terrible days watching the Watergate hearings.
Yes, and stay away from that catfish.

dcpeg said...

You're so right, Mark. Fragrances do the same thing.

As for the battle ax, I worked for a staunchly conservative organization, so anyone who didn't have the same philosophy had to watch her step.

As for the catfish -- nope, never again . . .