When I was young and visited my Kentucky cousin, whose name just happens to rhyme with my own, one of our favorite places to go was her mother’s grocery store. It was in the heart of one of those little villages so common in western Kentucky. We could run across the road from her house to the store, up the steps and be inside quick as a flash.
Having a place of importance just inside the door was the big open from-the-top cold drink cooler containing glass bottles of Nehi Orange and Grape, 7 Up and Coca Cola, which was never called anything but its full name, Coca Cola. We drank them straight from the bottles, never needing a glass. Sometimes we would scoop up a handful of ice to rub on our faces to cool down. No air conditioning in those days, you know. The bottle opener was on the side of the cooler and you dropped your money for the cold drink on the counter.
My aunt’s store had a special feature. She made sandwiches at lunch time. Two slices of bread, a slice of bologna or olive loaf, maybe a slice of cheese and you were in business. Adding a little zip to the sandwich was mustard, which was kept in a jar under the counter. Extra straws were under the counter too. (Do you see where I am going with this?)
Well, let me tell you, two little girls, knobby knees and all, could slither down behind the counter and squeeze up close to the shelf holding the mustard and straws. It takes no imagination to predict what we did. Yep, we stuck the straws in the mustard jar, sluuurrp! And then stuck the straw back in the jar for another slurp. Now, this was plain old yellow mustard - none of today’s fancy Dijon or honey mustard, and it was lip puckering at its best. And giggle - oh my, did we giggle!
When lunch time customers started to come into the store and my aunt got the sandwich fixings out, my cousin and I would top off our mustard meal with a cold bottle of pop. Then we would wander off to my cousin’s house and play house or school in the side yard.
I never told my aunt about our antics with the mustard until just recently and she claims to have known nothing about our slurping. I certainly hope none of her customers knew either. We thought we were just having fun, but, in reality, I guess we were making memories.