Many afternoons during planting and harvest season, my grandfather would drive his pickup to the field to deliver a soda pop. On the last day of harvest in October 1998, my grandfather made his usual delivery and said, “This will be the last pop I bring to you.” He meant for the season, but it was indeed the last pop he would ever deliver to the field. Just a few months later, at the age of 95, he moved to a nursing home.
Enjoying a pop on the farm is a way of life for many farm families. Perhaps that’s why on a recent trip to Oklahoma I took time to take my son to a place called “Pops.” As the name implies, it’s famous for soda pop.
Marty Doepke oversees the day-to-day operations at the diner and store on historic Route 66. Pops is a relative newcomer to the Mother Road, just over a decade into its existence.
“We have literally 700-plus kinds of pop in the store at all times,” Doepke says. Some of the brands have roots to the early 20th century. Other pops, which come in a variety of flavors, are new to the scene.
“These days nothing seems to surprise me. We have seven different types of bacon-flavored soda,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of food-flavored sodas and they’re really more gimmicky than anything else because I can assure you they don’t taste very good at all.”
Doepke is correct. The key lime pie pop I selected would have tasted much better as a slice of actual pie than in a soda bottle.
There are numerous brands of pop from foreign countries as well. “The ones from Mexico tend to be much sweeter than the ones from here,” Doepke says.
Then there’s the Dandelion and Burdock pop from England. “To me it’s completely odd, but for the English travelers who come through here they love the fact we have it,” he says. “They’re drinking it down, but I just don’t see how they do it.”
Doepke estimates he’s carried 1,500 different types of soda the past few years. “As it comes in off the trucks we’ll sit and drink them in the warehouse and talk about them,” he says. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes we’re like, ‘Why are we doing this?’”
For my son and me, it was a chance to enjoy meeting Marty, explore the 700 types of pop in the coolers and then snap a photo in front of the 66' pop bottle outside the store. It was a time to share a pop with my son and remember all the pops my grandfather used to bring me in the field.
“American Countryside” is heard each weekday on a network of 100 radio stations, regularly on “U.S. Farm Report” TV and on demand via the Farm Journal Radio app. For details, visit www.American Countryside.com
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3/6/2017 12:24 PM
I am wondering if they carry the favorite drink of Eastern Kentucky, also my personal favorite, ALE 8, bottled by the Ale 8 Bottling Co. of Winchester, KY?
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