The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Can You Ever Go Home?

by Ron Bowlyow

Growing up in the Midwest, we called a soft drink "pop". If we went into the Carman store for a soft drink, we ordered an orange pop or a grape pop. Everyone knew what we wanted and we got it.

A few years later Coke and Pepsi hit the scene and kind of took over the soft drink market. As a teenager hanging out in Stronghurst we merely ordered a soft drink by its brand name but always referred to it as "pop."

Leaving the Midwest as an adult, I soon learned that the term "pop" was not universally accepted terminology for a soft drink. In other places it was called "soda." So, when in Rome do as the Romans. I picked up the term "soda" and it kind of stuck.

Well that term worked pretty well except on a trip to New England. I mentioned that I was going to have a soda to drink and a local informed me that if I ordered a soda there, I would get a soda water and not a soft drink. Once again, I had to conform to the region if I was going to get what I wanted.

I found out that was not the only peculiarity I ran across in New England.

Whenever I ordered coffee in the rest of the country, I would be asked if I wanted "regular" coffee. To me, this asked if I wanted caffeine or caffeine free coffee. So when asked that question in New England, I replied that I would like regular coffee. Much to my surprise, I received coffee with cream and sugar. Being a drinker of black coffee, I asked for a replacement and learned another lesson about ordering drinks in New England. Don't ask for regular coffee unless you want cream and sugar.

In the south, it is often customary that grits are included with a breakfast meal. Being a northerner or Yankee, I had no idea what grits were or that I would be getting them on my plate without asking for them.

When my plate arrived, I took note of the white blob. Being a polite sort and really dumb, I did not question this peculiar mass before me. I knew I had not ordered it so I looked at the menu again and learned that grits was included.

So I concluded I had just been served grits. I looked around and watched others prepare their grits so I would know what I was supposed to do to make them tasty.

After casually observing, I decided to put butter and sugar on the grits and give it a whirl.

That was my first and last attempt at eating grits.

Sorry grits lovers, old dogs can be taught a lot of new tricks, but for me eating grits is not one of them.