|It's trickier than it looks.|
I had gone to town with Dad.
It was always an exciting time for us kids.
The teaming metropolis, crowded with cars, alive with people.
Intent of their errands.
All hurrying to get somewhere.
Okay, it was Milk River. Population 499.
No one hurried.
And, the only time in the town’s history there had been a traffic jam was the year someone’s grampa’s car stalled in one of the intersections on parade day.
But still, we loved going there to run errands with dad.
Stopping at the hardware store.
The variety/clothing store.
The farm machinery shop.
Occasionally, he would buy us something.
But mostly, it was to listen to him visiting with the proprietor, getting caught up on the local news.
And to have a pop and a chocolate bar at the service station just before we headed home.
The local gas station had a large chest full of all kinds of soda.
The bottom part was filled with intricate wiring and tubing necessary to keeping the product cold.
The upper part, the part that was visible when one lifted the lid, was a series of long slots, with the bottle tops just visible in each.
All one had to do was carefully maneuver one’s chosen flavour to the end of its row and into the lifter.
Deposit a dime (yes, a dime) into the appropriate space.
Take off the lid in the handy, dandy opener provided.
And deliciousness was yours.
Dad was doing the dime depositing and the choosing.
I was pulling up on the lifter.
It had worked for several bottles.
The two of us together had an impressive array of pop to take home.
Three or four at least . . .
Dad deposited another dime and reached for a bottle.
I happily pulled up on the lifter.
He looked at me, his hand still hovering between ‘orange’ and ‘grape’.
I don’t remember if he went to the proprietor and got his money back.
I only remember ‘that’ look.
And being relieved of my duties.
The pop still tasted good.