ADVENTURES IN SUGARGROVE: The soda Jerk…
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Miss Louella’s purple honey was a big success with the folks in Sugargrove. The Gang continued to sell enough jars to get the Baker’s Dozen special, and each time they’d decided to save the extra two dollars they made for an excursion into town, at which time they’d treat themselves to a special drink at the soda fountain –a cherry phosphate.
“If you’re going with me you’d better get a move on!” Dave called out. Before he could take a breath, five giggling girls ran out the door and hopped into the back of his pickup truck.
“Hey, Uncle Dave,” Chloe pitched her Brownie camera to him, “take a picture of us, will ya?” All five girls sat on the tailgate, squeezed together as close as they could with their arms wrapped around each other smiling. Throughout their summer vacation, Chloe had been taking pictures of the Gang and had started a photo album. Today, she thought, was another opportunity to take pictures and create memories.
Dave stopped the truck in front of Threadway’s. “I’ll be a couple of hours or so with my business. Y’all meet me right here and don’t make me come looking for you.” He grinned. They all nodded their head and thanked him for the ride.
Saturday afternoons was a busy day in town for farmers. And the drugstore was no different. A few years ago, Mr. Threadway expanded his drugstore to include a “five and dime”. Unlike the mercantile that had been there since the forties, this variety store now offered, among many other items, men, women, and children’s clothing and also shoes. The material selection was especially favored by the women and offered floral prints as well as stripes. In the past, their dresses had been fashioned out of flour-sack material such as calico or checked print.
Today the store was in a buzz with women and children rumbling about making a fuss over everything from cloth to toiletries. Some of the women, who only came into town once a month, were eager to catch up on what they referred to as town-talk…not gossiping mind you.
The Gang walked in the front door, but quickly stopped to search for a place to sit. Their usual seats at the soda fountain counter were taken up by the Pee Wee league ball players, who were happily slurping on root beer floats or licking their ice cream cones; courtesy of Mr. Treadway for their big win over Clinton County Pee Wee’s.
“Look. Over there.” Chloe said and pointed to a booth. They rushed over and sat down. Susanna, who loved music, immediately dropped a nickel into the table jukebox and selected 6-A. Within seconds the place was filled with the latest hit from Hank Williams. Mrs. Edlemeyer, their former fifth grade music teacher, was in the store and when she heard what was being played, she immediately looked over at them and frowned.
Susanna just shrugged her shoulders and whispered, “ Sorry, there’s no Bach or Beethoven on the jukebox.” The girls snickered. In the past, they’d made no secrets in music class how much they favored country ballads over Classical piano.
There afternoon was fun and Chloe snapped away with her Brownie. Beth Ann oohed and awed over Josh, the new boy in town and the soda jerk. “What I don’t understand is why they’re called soda jerks. He certainly doesn’t look like a jerk to me”.
“Because you have to jerk a handle to dispense the drinks and ice cream into a container.” Sara said. They all looked at her with wonder. “I’m shy, not stupid. And Beth Ann, I am surprised you didn’t know that.” She sat a bit taller in her seat and thought that it was always fun to have one up on the smartest girl in the class. The girls continued to talk about Josh and how cute he was, also the fact that he and his family had move there from California, and for some reason, that made him even more interesting…at least to everyone, but Chloe. She hadn’t quite reached the stage of being “boy-struck”.
Her life was too full of exciting things to be explored; she just didn’t have time for boys…even a cute one like Josh.