In those days, the drinking fountains were bulky, a chalky white color, and served more than one kid at a time with individual big metal levers right in front of the corroded metal water spouts. The one outside Mrs. Bockem’s first-grade classroom watered four slurping kids at a time.
In the good ole’ days, there wasn’t a chiller motor housed inside a stainless steel housing to ensure cold water. Those were the days when the drinking water temperature was eerily similar to the season of the year. Kinda the exact opposite than what a body yearned for.
It didn’t matter when you got a drink from that old fountain, there was always a convenient classmate flanking the drinking fountain to announce to the rest of the world or those within earshot, the title of the pretend beverage coming from each specific of the four fountains.
There was no particular order in which to announce – it all depended on who you were trying to tease or who the announcer didn’t like. On occasion the obnoxious kid doing the announcing would be standing in front of one of the drinking fountains declaring the pretend beverages just before he or she held their lips in a way a person does when they say “Who?” and start sucking in the precious essence of life.
Of the four pretend beverages there was really only one that you absolutely would not drink. For me there was only one of the make believe drinks I truly loved, but rarely got.
On occasion, and usually when someone violated my drinking fountain by claiming I was drinking the vilest of the four liquids, I’d bark back, “Nuh-uh!!!”, then rename the pretend drinks and order to suit my fancy and throw the teasing back in their face.
The five words worked out pretty well for me, since none of those words had an “R” in them, which I couldn’t say to save my life at the time, I bellowed back while pointing to different drinking fountains with each word, “Coffee – Tea – Soda-pop – PEE!!!”
Of course, my fountain would always be the “Soda-pop” and the urine I’d save for the one who dubbed my fountain the same thing first.
Traditions are funny things. They make up a whole lot of our society. Take a handshake, for instance; the tradition to show an enemy that you were unarmed has morphed into the traditional act of greeting… but that’s the good side of a tradition…
In the church, there are more traditions than you can shake a stick at. What’s worse is how we let them divide us… then conquer us… not so different than the traditions we were taught in elementary school…
Get the picture?