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Creme Soda and Other Delights


Thrift rears its ugly head just when you think youíve conquered it. Once a child of the Great Depression, always a frugal penny pincher. When we began having as many as nine grandchildren at a time in those August Adventures, I began looking for ways to quench their thirst without breaking the bank.

No Coke Classics here.  No sir-ree, I bought fountain syrup at the Smart and Final and made my own Koolaid. Then as the children outgrew Koolaid and trips to the Zoo, gallon thermoses in tow, we graduated to what I laughingly called Generic drinks.

"Does anyone want a cold drink?" Iíd ask when we came dragging in from the beach all hot and thirsty.

"Me, Me," they all chorused.

By this time, Grampa had discovered that Vonís Generic Sodas outclassed all the rest.  He began buying them by the case and kept the old refrigerator in the garage to store the quantities of cans he collected.  He was thrifty, organized and a can-crusher!  He recycled aluminum like we were still at war with Japan.

"Yellow, Orange, Purple, Green, Tan or Brown?" Yellow, was lemon; Orange, Orange; Purple was Grape; Green was Lime; Tan was Creme Soda and Brown was Root Beer.  They all had their favorites. 

And after time, so did Grampa!  His was Creme Soda...tan. I bought him a stacking rack that just fit the top shelf of the refrigerator.  It was his job to keep it loaded.  And it kept him busy during August.  Busy chasing around to Vonís Marketís to get their very best coupon, swipe the card, special deals.  And loading the rack to keep Ďem rolling out.

Last September after all Grands were back in school, he breathed a sigh of relief, loaded the rack one more time, grabbed for a Creme Soda (Tan) and headed for his easy chair.

The next day, Bruce stopped by on the way to Oceanside, and I offered him a cold drink.  I do not pay attention to who drinks what, or how many cold ones are in the refrigerator.  Thatís not my job.  That night, as I served dinner, Grampa reached into the refrigerator for a Creme Soda.

"Has Bruce been here today?" he asked.

"Yes. Did he leave something?"  This was usually the case.

"No, he drank my Creme Soda."

"Oh, I didnít know you counted them."

"I donít count them, but I put so many into the rack that I get one every fifth day."

"Is that right?  Well, thatís how your personality type is.  Well organized.  The bookkeeper.  I should have known  Itís par for the course.

About a week later Jon Mark got his Driver Ed learning permit. He drove his parents out to visit for Bruceís birthday.

Later in the week, again at dinner time, Dick noticed that his Generic Color Coded Colas were out of order again.

"Was Bruce here today?"

"No, he wasnít."

"Well, was Jon Mark?"


"Well, my Creme Soda (Tan) is out of balance again!"

"Whatever," I said absently.

"Well, itís very important to me!"

"Oops, my kids have done it again, I guess.  How could that happen...when they havenít been here?"

Then I remembered. Iíd served a girlfriend one of his Generic drinks.  Iíd have to remember to replenish his stock after this...Jiminy Crickets! 

After 32 years of marriage, another idiosyncrasy pops up!

One day, later on, when Bruce came for a visit on the way to Oceanside, I served him a Tan and we all talked about the code of ethics on the multi-colored drinks. We laughed together, because Bruce teaches classes in the personality types and understands how important these little things are.  I was glad that I seldom ever had a canned drink.  Iíd hate to take one out of order!

The next week Bruce came to the door with a large shopping bag with handles. It was all Tan Cans...a whole case of them!

"Itís a little belated Christmas present for you, Pops...wouldnít want to get the Creme Sodaís out of balance!" he laughed. We all laughed. But for Richieís personality type, I knew it was not all that funny!  Funny peculiar, but not funny Ha Ha!  Just one of his little quirks of character.

Post Script: For those who are into this sort of thing, according to Meyers-Briggs and David Keirseyís Please Understand Me personality tests, Grampa is an ISTJ (introvert, sensing, thinking, judging).  This adds up to (in simple terms) the supervisor, inspector, provider, protector type.  I am a combination of SJ and NF which add teacher, counselor, revealer, conciliator to the household system.  It made things very interesting to say the least!

From "Tidbits of Time" by Thelly Reahm ©1996

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