I did a shopping run this afternoon, and soda was on the list. My daughters had a middle school dance to go to and needed to bring soda and chips. In the soda and chips aisle of our local Stop & Shop I ran across a plastic bottle of "Moxie", something I hadn't had in, gawd... years... and so I stuck one in the cart. Not since I was a young kid living at my grandparents' house in Westerly, RI, had I tipped that venerable unlikely-tasting brew over my hapless, resigned taste buds (with all the grim relish of a pre-pubescent would-be Dr. Jekyll). All these years have gone by since those hazy memories settled into their place in my psyche; how have I just walked by it so many times all these years?
I got home from the supermarket, my eldest helped me get the loot out of the trunk and we got it all put away. About an hour or so later the girls and their mother went off to choir rehearsal, and I found I had a quiet moment on my hands for a little Moxie-induced reverie. I pulled my favorite glass out of the cupboard and poured a sample of the ancient elixir... there was the familiar smell, that fizzy, funky taste ... and in an instant I was transported back to my grandmother's kitchen. There I was, 6 years old sitting on the red Cosco (tm) step-stool in the corner of the over-sized kitchen under the big wall-cabinet, my glass of Moxie sitting there next to me on the old granite counter-top. The fulness of my youth-through-early-teens period came flooding back into my awareness. It was a pretty interesting moment, like seeing your past in a movie that you could stand in the midst of. I was re-living my childhood.
I was suspended in that bridge of atmospheres between the "then" and the "now", and my attention was quite fully arrested by what I was experiencing. "This is how it was when you were 6"... if a voice-over could have been present, that's what it would have said. It was a sudden, but not unpleasant change of awareness. I was being transported to the life of what seemed a whole other person, but was not disoriented. It was me, you see, and it's really something to be able to truly know a moment in time, 40+ years back in the recesses of the long, twisted path that was your life, as if it were happening right now. But it is, after all, where you come from, what was formative to who you are now. You have to reckon it, to recognize yourself, and take account for it.
It was really, really cool.
My cousin once said that Moxie tastes like "carbonated asphalt". It still tastes the same.