A Refreshing Sip of Summers Past

In the pitch-black of early morning, my dad would gently shake me from heavy sleep. I’d agreed to go fishing with him, but from within the comfort of my cool sheets, I’d nearly changed my mind about this 5:30 wake-up call. We’d set out for the country roads, bouncing along in his pick-up truck and stopping at a gas station on the way to pick up our lunch. Nothing would taste better on the lake than that soggy sub and a bottle of Cheerwine.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had Cheerwine, years, but recently when I took a swig of the distinct Southern cherry soda, memories of summer mornings with my dad on a quiet lake came rippling back.

Cheerwine soda

Cheerwine takes me back to days on the lake fishing in Virginia with my dad. It’s a soda born and bred in North Carolina.

I remember baiting the hook with slimy worms, weaving them back and forth like ribbons. I’d lost too many from poor technique in the past. We’d cast our lines and wait. We never said much. We didn’t catch much. Often the only sound was the water gently lapping against our rented canoe. But those were some of the best times with my dad. Sure, there was that big one on my line that got away. My dad tried so hard to tell me how to reel him in, excited and patient and set on letting me do it. He still tells the story of how big that bass was. I never got a good look. It could have been a tiny catfish for all I know, but Daddy was proud whatever it was.

Looking back now, I see that as a parent I don’t need to try so hard to make memories. It’s not about always being fancy. It doesn’t need to be much. It’s just time spent one-on-one that matters, with no interruptions. Well, except to reel in a big one. That’s OK.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “A Refreshing Sip of Summers Past

  1. JWo

    I saw Cheerwine when we went to Myrtle Beach and Tammy had never heard of it. But I forgot to get some… for her.

    I’m not too fond of cherries… (http://thelifeofjwo.com/2012/03/09/the-night-i-lost-my-cherry-errr-cherries/) hahaha…

  2. Aw, great memories, fishing with Dad! Never had Cheerwine, but cherry soda is a fav of mine. I loved to fish with my granddaddy, but he died when I was a young teen. Bummer. We still fish out by the creek at least once a week.

    My “dad time” was being woke up at 4:30a, breaking the ice layer from the top of my sleeping bag cocoon, where I’d bedded down in the open air for the night by the campfire outside, warming up briefly with bacon and hot cocoa, then trudging quietly through the woods to the deer blind, settling in and waiting for dawn. Quietly waiting. And waiting. Those were some awesome days.

    • Yeah, I guess at the time you don’t realize how special it is, how important.

      Cheerwine is a bit different from just cherry soda. Not sure what else is going on there. It’s different if you ever have a chance to try it.

  3. I love the lesson you learned/remembered! I often think I have to work so hard to make memories instead of just being present with my kids. Tonight, my four year old and I played “head, shoulders, knees & toes” and “guess what I’m drawing” for 30 minutes. It was easily the best part of my day (granted, it was a slow day :-)). Nothing fancy. Time only. Thank you for the great reminder!!

  4. Memories are often made when we least expect it. never heard of cheerwine!

    • Sometimes our family will plan a great day, only to be disappointed. It often seems the days with no real plans or with surprises (like getting caught in the petting zoo during a rain shower) are the most memorable. But I’ll see in twenty years what they remember most.

  5. Exactly, it’s simply being present with our kids that counts the most over anything else in the world. That’s what forms memories they will cherish. Great post!

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