A good memory of my father

I was in a rowboat, fishing with my father. I must have been four years old. And I was whining. I was bored, I was hot, I was thirsty, I was catching nothing, I was four years old, I had long since had enough of any one of those things (let alone all of them), and I wasn’t going to take it anymore. Suddenly I disobeyed all prior instruction by standing up in the boat and screaming with a tear-streaked dirty face, “I WANT A COKE!” Then I sat down and pouted for a solid five minutes.

I would’ve pouted longer, actually, because I was a champion pouter, but something happened that stopped me from having to continue. Down the river floated a six-pack of cans, bound all together. My father scooped it out of the river and made the face of utter flabbergastedness and said, “Well, I’ll be. Lookahere, Doodlebug.” Sure enough, it was Coke. A whole six-pack of Coke, and it was all ours! Daddy pulled a can free of its plastic and popped it open, took a sip first, and then handed it to me to have my own sip. I took a sip. “Well?” my father asked, as if he had produced it by magic and was deserving of every accolade I could offer (which he would’ve been, if he’d been in charge of that little miracle).

I took a big long sip, let out a four-year-old’s version of a huge burp, and licked my lips thoughtfully. “Could be colder.”

My father about died laughing. And he took me back to shore, and to the Minnit Shoppe for a proper (cold) Coke.

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