My parents gave me Coca-Cola in my baby bottle. I wasn't a big napper. I was too spun out on caffeine. I once grabbed my father's cheeks in the throes of withdrawal and commanded him to "get the baby some coke".
We called all soft drinks 'coke'. Once while riding in the station wagon on a country drive, Mom said, "I'm thirsty, y'all. Stop the car and let's get a coke, big Daddy." Those weren't her exact words, but I like the way it reads so I'll leave it in for dramatic effect.
Dad followed mom's lead and called all soft drinks 'coke' unless we talked about Dr. Pepper. Dad liked those big bottles of Dr. Pepper. Drink it at 10, 2, and 4. That's what the label said. It tasted good and helped me learn to tell time. I won't say the same about Schlitz. It did not taste good and if Dad drank too many, he didn't give a cuss about the time. I'm kidding. Dad didn't drink much beer, but I like the way it reads so I'll keep it in.
I drank 7-Up at home on sick days. The sparkling lemon-lime bubbles helped me keep my fluid intake high while I watched "Dark Shadows" and "Truth or Consequences". Our sick-day routine included a trip to Dr. Kimura's office at 80th and Mission road and a stop at Safeway in the Prairie Village shopping center for 7-Up.
Friday night meant Shakey's for pizza. When we moved to the Kansas City from Columbia, Missouri in 1969, they were the preeminent pizza chain in the Midwest. The old-time piano music and Laurel and Hardy films flickering overhead made me thirsty for Root Beer.
Bargain-minded parents brought soda coolers to our sporting events. This exposed me to several cheaper soft drink lines like Craigmont, Vess, and Shasta. We clamored for the soda chest as soon as they unlatched it, lest we be saddled with the dregs: a lowly cream soda.
The original Dickinson theatre on Johnson Drive featured an unusual permutation of soft drink sales. The concession stand sold only popcorn and candy. There was a ten cent mechanical fountain dispensary at the far end of the lobby. The soda water and syrup mixed on the fly for a unique taste in every paper cup.
Some people in Kansas City call soft drinks 'pop'. It's a northern Midwest habit and it often comes out of their mouths as 'pap'. This bugs me. I'll stick with coke. But don't be surprised if I'm drinking a Dr. Pepper, especially if it's 10, 2, or 4.