A little something sweet

When I think of summer, it’s the sweet tang of a Slurpee on my tongue that hits me first.

Near my grandparents’ home was a 7-Eleven — a convenience store just far enough away to constitute a “walk,” but not nearly far enough that we couldn’t make it over there. My sister and I were fortunate to spend summers with my grandparents growing up, and Grandma tried to get Kate and me out for fresh air. When the Maryland humidity didn’t threaten to knock us out, we’d prance around the neighborhood and wind up at the store for a treat.

I remember my sister in the stroller and my hand in Grandma’s. I remember the shells adorning a neighbor’s driveway — as fine and delicate as bone. And I remember, too, the way the cool air and neon lights would strike us as we made it to 7-Eleven — and I headed straight for the Slurpee machine. I couldn’t always reach it.

My dad kept up the ritual, too, and trips for Slurpees were an after-school routine. When Dad would collect us for home, we’d pop into the store for chips and a drink. Coke Slurpees have always been my favorite, and still are; a throwback to the sweetness of growing up.

When I’m having a rough day, 7-Eleven’s siren song is more powerful than anything Starbucks could ever offer. I often stop for lunch near a gas station that carries this nectar of the gods and can’t help but get a large beverage for the road. In the decades since those lazy days at Grandma’s, I’ve traded my sneakers and corduroys for heels and trousers — but my childish taste buds? Totally intact.

Katie and I made a special trip for a free “birthday” Slurpee on 7/11. They were out of Coke, of course, considering it’s the most awesome of all awesome Slurpee flavors. But I got a cherry — a decent substitute. And it’s definitely not unusual to find my sister and I making special trips to drinks to this day.

July is rapidly winding to a close. Our birthdays have now passed — an annual celebration of Dad, my sister and me. August is waving and friendly, but still threatening to disappear as fast as the previous months. We anticipate summer for so long — the vacations and tanning and fireworks — but once it’s here, we’re helpless to slow it all down. As I type, the leaves on trees lining my office’s street are yellowing and preparing to drop. It won’t be long before our 100-degree heat yields to cold, damp 60-degree days.

And don’t get me wrong — I still get Slurpees on 60-degree days. But there’s something about the rapidly-melting, hot-and-steamy July afternoons that make your drink all the sweeter.

And who couldn’t use a little sweet?

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16 thoughts on “A little something sweet

  1. how fitting that you posted this today, bc i stopped in a got a slurpee today! (with heat like what we’ve been having, i had to). interestingly, i never get the coke flavored slurpee. i’m all about the fruit flavored ones and i always mix

    • I’m typically a total purist when it comes to Slurpees, Deborah, but I have been known to mix cherry and coconut in weak moments. Otherwise, it’s all Coke, all the time.

    • Treat yourself, Sheila! We’re coming off a week’s worth of 100-degree days in the D.C. area. Today feels comfortable by comparison: a tepid 92.

  2. Oh fab! I think your Slurpees are the same as our Slush Puppies in the UK and I don’t think I have had one in years! This post really takes me back.

    • Four hours away?! Oh Kathy, you poor soul. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Like any good Slurpee addict, I need to have my fix. Love that a clerk actually used to dispense them for you, too . . . that’s awesome.

    • After writing this late last night, I seriously considered going to get a Slurpee. It’s just one of those things . . . you can’t talk about it without seriously needing some. Like chocolate.

  3. I love how something simple – like a Slurpee – can inspire such detailed memories. You have your Slurpees, I have my Del’s frozen lemonade. Where I grew up, it’s just not summer without a Del’s.

    • I could go for some frozen lemonade, Meredith! I have so many food- or drink-related memories — it’s actually scary. Food has just always played a large role in my family’s world . . . too large, perhaps, but large!

  4. i’m partial to coke slurpees myself and my students will often bring me one, especially as a bribe if they come back late from lunch. (part of my job as school meanie is to write up kids who come back late from lunch…) i love the memories that a slurpee brings back for you, very sweet.

  5. I am aslo a big slurpee fan. Although my favorite is the cherry flavor. And I am lucky enough to be moving practically next door to a 7-11 this year. I’m sure I will frequently be stopping by for a quick pick me up on my way to class or on my way home from work.

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