(This is my attempt at Assignment 1.)
I want to tell a story about my father.
In order for me to adequately tell this story, however, I need to tell you a little about my father.
My dad, you see, is a gentle soul. My most vivid memories of Dad when I was growing up are of him puttering around the house, the yard, the basement. He is a mild-mannered man who cooked most of our family dinners (and still does), taught (and still teaches) Sunday school. He is a lover of puns and single-malt scotch. He is slow to anger, but always quick to help. He is not at all prone to sudden outbursts. His humor tends to be dry and subtle-ish (though the puns are not always so subtle.)
The other character in the story is a seemingly innocent bottle of ginger ale.
Dad has, for as long as I can remember, done most of the grocery shopping. He goes out early on Saturday morning and drives around to several different stores in town (Giant Eagle, Aldi, Wal-Mart. When I was growing up, there was no Wal-Mart, but there was Shop n’ Save.) He usually sticks to the grocery list that he’s made, but occasionally an item will catch his eye, and if it is on special, it might coax him into an impulse buy.
On the Saturday in question, there was a bottle of Vernors Ginger Soda on special. Dad came home from his shopping trip with a bottle of “America’s oldest surviving ginger ale.” We were not normally a soda-drinking people, so this was indeed a special occasion. Asked why he bought a bottle of ginger ale, Dad responded that he had heard it was different from most other ginger ales, and he was curious. Fair enough.
The thing is, Vernors Ginger Soda apparently has a very distinctive taste which is a bit… stronger… than your Schwepps or your Canada Dry. (Their tag line is “Barrel Aged. Bold Taste!” They’re not lying.) It is also, apparently, quite a bit more carbonated than your average soda. So when Dad decided to sample the soda, he poured himself a glass, took a sip…
…and promptly spit it out in the most phenomenal spit-take I have ever seen in real life.
Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another spit-take in real life.
Vernors Ginger Soda was sprayed over the floor, the island in the middle of the kitchen, and the cabinets across the room.
To this day, my brother and I both burst into giggles when this memory bubbles into consciousness, and it is, quite frankly, a very fond memory for me. I’m tremendously fortunate that Dad, in addition to being wise and mild-mannered, has the rare ability to be able to laugh at himself, and tolerates a more than a decade of his kids still making fun of him for the one time he tried to drink Vernors Ginger Soda.
Personally, I’ve never tasted the stuff.