2018-02-28 / Editorials

Here’s an idea ...

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

I’m not sure my grandmother ever forgave the Coca-Cola Co. for New Coke.

I know she never forgave them for discontinuing those six-and-ahalf ounce glass bottles.

Coca-Colas — or, more appropriately, Co-Colas, which is the way the name comes out of the mouths of most Southerners — played an important role in many rituals in my grandmother’s life.

I remember vividly how angry she was some 33 years ago when the Co-Cola Co. decided their tried-and-true soft drink formula needed to be changed. My grandmother thought Coca- Cola was perfect just like it was.

Our whole family did, really. Coca-Cola is sort of the official soft drink of our family. I don’t have any way to prove this, but I suspect my family has drunk more Coca-Colas than any family in America not named Candler or Woodruff.

My grandmother started nearly every day of her life with one of those six-and-a-half ounce jewels. As soon as her feet hit the floor in the morning, she headed straight for the refrigerator.

I don’t really know for how long my grandmother started each morning with a Co-Cola, but I suspect it was for as long as she smoked unfiltered Camel cigarettes because I rarely saw her doing one without the other.

Going to my grandmother’s house in Cordele was a special thing. There was just one rule at my grandmother’s house: Don’t drink the last Coca- Cola. That’s because she wanted to be sure there was at least one Coke in the refrigerator when she woke up in the morning.

I don’t know what would have happened if someone drank the last Coke because, to my knowledge, no one was ever brave enough to try it. I suppose, though, that it’s possible I have a long-lost cousin who disappeared under mysterious circumstances after failing to heed the Last Coke Warning.

There were other Cokes during the day, too. At 10:30 every morning, she and a group of friends met at a local drug store for a Coke and a pack of cheese crackers. By the evening, there was usually a little adult beverage mixed with the Coke.

She never drank Coca- Cola out of anything other than those six and a-half ounce bottles. She preferred the older bottles with the raised glass lettering, not the newer bottles with the painted white lettering. She said the Coke tasted better.

I bring all of this up because the Co-Cola Co. recently announced that it was going to offer two new flavors of Co-Cola (and four new flavors of Diet Coke). The new Coke flavors are Georgia Peach and California Raspberry, both of which sound like something I wouldn’t drink if I had been stranded in the Sahara for a week.

The company said it added the new flavors to appeal to younger, more discerning customers. And I get it. People aren’t drinking soft drinks like they used to. Thanks to my trainer, I drink far fewer Cokes than I did a few years ago.

And I realize the whole “new flavors” tactic isn’t new. Starbucks has been doing it to our coffee for years, and now bourbon distillers are getting into the act. You can buy cinnamon-flavored bourbon, maple flavored bourbon, apple  flavored bourbon and even vanilla-flavored bourbon.

Here’s an idea. How about making my coffee taste like coffee, my bourbon taste like bourbon and my Coca-Cola taste like Coca-Cola?

I’m sure my grandmother would agree.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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