When I was 11 I worked at Taylor’s Refresher for part of a summer. I’m not sure a kid can even get a job nowadays at that age, but in the ‘70s it was unremarkable. It was early summer, and I remember the temperature was already nearing 100 degrees on the day I made my way downtown. Rock crunched under my feet as I walked through the gravel pits. The heat created mirage-like images in the distance and the beating sun stung my bare arms. The smell of eucalyptus filled the air.
I intended to stop by Taylor’s and visit a few older kids who worked there, with my goal to get a free handout — preferably a Coke in one of those large white Styrofoam cups filled with finely shaved iced swimming in sweet caramel-colored liquid. I knew having access to such a beverage and its container would provide both relief for my dry throat and hours of post-consumption entertainment. If my plan worked I would first savor the cold slurry of slushy liquid and when that was gone I would tap the remaining clumps of ice down the sides of the cup into my open mouth. Then with the cup empty and surprisingly light, I would create a host of useful items.