Who doesn't like soda? Or "pop", if you're from the North, or "Coke" if you're from certain hardcore Southern areas. Of course, there is the diplomatic compromise term "soda-pop" ("sody-pop", if you happen to be Foghorn Leghorn), but I've always said soda. I've always been very fond of any kind of fizzy drink from an early age. Ahhhh, the wonderful nose-tickling bubbles joyfully leaping about in a freshly poured glass of root beer, orange soda, grape soda, Dr. Pepper, Coca ColaTM, Sprite, 7-Up, beer, or champagne- it's all a delight to the senses. Strangely, though, I don't drink soda nearly as often as my fondness for it demands (beer and champagne are another story entirely). This is probably a good thing, since I don't really need a lot of extra calories from all the sugar and I cannot abide the taste of any diet soda. No sir.
My earliest memories of soda involve those long glass bottles of the late 1970's, which my brother and I would retrieve from large glass-topped refrigerated coolers in various old gas stations around Williamsburg County, SC. The kind of station that's really just a couple of pumps in front of a shack that has an old illuminated plastic Pepsi-Cola sign sticking out over the door. My drink of choice then was Patio, either orange or grape. Grover drinks Patio, why shouldn't you?
Patio is long gone, of course. But a little later, Santa Claus brought us a toy 7-Up dispenser! In retrospect, it was a clunky plastic thing that looked a little like one of the busted up old junky droids that Luke and Uncle Owen didn't buy, but at the time I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. It was hilarious! It was very 1970's, complete with that unbelievable 7-Up slogan: "7-Up: The Uncola". I think that was also when Sprite commercials kept talking about how Sprite had the flavor of Limon, pronounced 'lymon'. Geddit? Half lime, half lemon? Huh? Anyway, to start dispensing your own 7-up into little cups just like the big daddy grownup soda fountains, you had to get one of those great big unwieldy glass King-Size bottle of 7-Up and lay it on its side juuuuusst right, wrenching off the cap at juuuusst the right moment. Then you put the big cover back on, put your cup in place under the little spigot, press a button and DAMN! I have 7-Up!!! An example can be seen here, until somebody shells out 65 bucks for it.
Cans at the time had those little pull tabs you pulled off the can, making a little candy corn-shaped hole in the top. Cans supplanted the glass soda bottles, but not at our house from about 1984 to 1986/7! Elaborate kitchen gadgets have always appealed to my dad, who actually liked his Salad Shooter. He always made a big pan of fried shredded potatoes with it and would boom the slogan out as he pulled it out of the cabinet: "Salad ShootERRRRR!!" Naturally, the Soda Stream was a direct hit. This was a machine that carbonated drinks for you. It came with a bunch of glass soda bottles and caps, flavoring syrup pumps, and a CO2 canister. You filled a bottle with water and a couple shots of syrup, put it in the machine, pulled down the lever, and SHOOOMP went the CO2. You now have a bottle of root beer, or whatever. We adored it and used it all the time, until the machine, the extra canisters, the extra bottles, then all the flavoring syrups were discontinued. Feh. I never knew anybody else that had a Soda Stream, but when I went looking around for images to use just now, I found out that it was much more popular in Great Britain for some reason. I couldn't find any visual evidence of the model we had except for this Ebay listing, and the sellers are snottily protecting their images. Who do they think they are? The rightful owners?
I always like to check out the weird, little-known regional soda varieties like SunDrop and Frostie, or exotic soda brands of other lands, like Goombay Punch:
Before I go, I wanted to let you know that this Christmas, 7-Up advises you to settle for nothing less than a 24-foot Chrismas tree and some red-shoed sap to hang gigantic gold swags of tinsel on it for you. While he's working his ass off, drink 7-Up and telephone a friend.