I popped open a can of Dr. Pepper the other night and was instantly transported to another time, another place.
It was 1980, I was standing on the hot sands of Haleiwa Beach, the hot breeze blowing against my salted skin, my hair streaked by the sun in ways many have tried to imitate in fancy salons but few have succeeded. In my hand; a 16 oz. paper cup sporting the Coca Cola logo but within its wax coated sides was pure, icy, liquid Heaven. Dr. Pepper.
Nothing could quench a thirst like DP and no trip to the beach was complete without a guzzled down cup of it's fizzy goodness. I didn't even bother with a straw, I just tore the plastic cover off and drank straight from the cup.
What exactly was Dr. Pepper, and what made it so special? To this day I don't know. It was the spam of soda pops, a mystery of miscellaneous ingredients that were blended together just perfectly. Nobody knew what it was, nobody really cared. All we cared about was that it was good and readily available at the local Beach Burger Wagon.
I shook the can above my outstretched tongue as I tried to hold on to the vision, but it was empty. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the scene blurred and flickered out. The scent of salt in the air became elusive and I took one last deep breath before opening my eyes.
I was in the dark interior of the Impala, the stark lights from the parking lot glaring down at me through the cold night air. Cheap 'new car' air freshener filled my nostrils. In my hands, where once was a cool, glistening paper cup now lay a smooth burgundy aluminum can, empty and slightly crumpled. I shook off the lingering threads of nostalgia and got out of my car, walking back to the store to finish my shift. I tossed the can into the aluminum recycling container as I walked through the door. I tried to jump up and click my heels but the truth held me down. I may still be a Pepper at heart, but 25 years of evolution had taken the spring out of my step. I settled for clicking my heels together on the floor.
There's no place like home. There's no place like home.... There's no place like home on the beach with an icy cup of Dr. Pepper!