Coke, a Napkin, and a Silly Straw
I believe in a can of Coke with a napkin wrapped around it and a silly straw, even though I like Pepsi better. Adolescence is a crazy time for anyone and I was no exception, even though I thought I had it all together. My old neighbor, Eve, has been my mentor, another mother figure, and friend since my family and I moved down the road from her the summer before my fifth grade year. She’s always been someone I can go to with questions about faith, family, friendships, relationships, school, the future, or anything else I might have on my mind. She’s the one I’d go to after an argument with my dad or when things were rough. She’d always be there for me. We’d sit in her kitchen at the table and when she could tell I was especially upset, she’d go get a can of Coke from the garage refrigerator, wrap a napkin around it, and rummage for a silly straw to insert into the opening. My favorite was a Tarzan silly straw with an elephant on top that roared each time you took a sip, often annoying, but it put me in a better mood. She said that it was something her grandmother had done for her as a child and it was always something she remembered and treasured about her grandmother.
Knowing that what we were doing reminded Eve of her grandmother, who she adored, made me feel part of something special. Those talks helped me get through many troubling times, the small ones of teenage angst and the big ones too. During those times, I felt like the only person that mattered to her. They always made me feel special. It was a small gesture on her part to listen to me ramble on and on and give me a Coke with a straw, but to me it made all the difference. It is one of the things that I hold special in my heart.
And because I know how much small gestures mean to me and how special it makes me feel, it’s something I try to pass on to others whenever I have the opportunity. Letting someone know that I’m thinking about them with just a simple act of kindness brings me great joy because I picture them feeling the same way I did during my Coke talks. I try to be someone that people feel comfortable coming to with their troubles, big and small. And I try to give them the same undivided attention that Eve gave me and advise them the best I know how, or just simply listen.
Even though I’m not home nearly as often as I used to be, I still go to Eve when something’s troubling me or even to share my accomplishments. And she always knows if it’s a Coke day or not, even though I still like Pepsi better.
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