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The Importance of Being Earnest about Sweets

 I’ll never forget my first can of Dr Pepper.

We were visiting my Dad’s oldest sister – a place I always remember as a very musical house.  She had three kids, my cousins, who were all a fair bit older than me.  They were all so musical, along with my Aunt. She had the most beautiful voice- I cannot recall all the details of that day, as now I’m of the age where trying to remember childhood memories are encased in a fog as my brain slowly degrades. Lovely, I know… I digress.  But I remember seeing a case of Dr Pepper in her kitchen – a new soda? One I hadn’t tried?  I loved soda as a kid; it was a real treat.  We didn’t have it often, so I was intrigued by the maroon color and the amazing typeface of the logo.  My obsession with typeface and fonts may have its origins in that old Dr Pepper logo… but I asked her about it.

    “What is that?” I asked, pointing at the case of soda.

    “Oh… that’s Dr Pepper! You might not like it,” she said with a grin, “It’s kind of… spicy!”

    “That’s why they call it Dr Pepper!”

    “Oh yeah,” she replied mischievously.

    After some more cajoling, she finally gave me a cold can of it from her refrigerator, and popped the top on it.  I took a sip… and while, to me, it did have kind of a kick, it was sweet… and different from anything I’d had before.  I immediately smiled and said, “Whoa! I wanna drink this forever!” She laughed and said, “Yeah, it’s pretty good…we like it! Now don’t drink too much!”

This is just a tiny memory, based on getting an old sweet from my Aunt in the kitchen of her raised ranch home.  Kind of a banal moment, really, yet it’s burned into my brain.  I guess sometimes these moments burrow into your mind, so much so that every time I see that classic Dr Pepper logo, in the big white font on that maroon background, I think of my Aunt.  She passed when I was 16, only a few years older than I am now. I still miss her very much – I often think of what she might have thought of me as I grew, the things I did.  Loving people who have passed from your life is one of the most difficult but amazing things we get in this human experience.  She’s been gone for almost 30 years, yet a piece of her lives very vividly inside me.  She probably never thought about that Dr Pepper moment ever, yet it’s something that endures.  I try to remember this when I think the things I have done are insignificant. Someone, someday, is going to have that “Dr Pepper” moment with me, and in a way, it keeps me alive long past my traditional existence.