A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Gus The Dog

Let me just say right off the bat that I like people.  Of course, The Big Guy and The Lady that live at my house are MY people, but I like everyone.  That's why, when one of my humans leaves the door open, I make a quick dash outside to see if there are any other people around.  And yes, I may have to travel to a few neighbors' yards to find someone, but I almost always do find someone before The Big Guy comes along to pick me up.  He always tells me how embarrassing it is for him to be walking through all the neighbors' yards to try to catch me, and yes, it's true that I let him get almost all the way up to me before I run off a little ways, but hey, let's face it...he needs the exercise.  So really, I'm just doing him a favor.

I got my two humans when I was just a puppy.  I was with my brothers and sisters, beside the road in a parking lot with some other humans that I can just barely remember, when The Big Guy and The Lady drove by in their car.  They went a little ways down the road and then turned around and came back (I knew they would!), and I was pretty glad they did because my brothers and sisters had all found humans by then and I was afraid I was going to be left alone.  So, I looked them over and decided they would be okay, so I went with them to my new home.  I even decided to let them stay there too. 

I was just learning how to growl then, and The Big Guy said my growl sounded like his stomach.  I've gotten better at it since then.  One of my favorite things to do back then was to play fight with The Big Guy.  He would lay on the floor and cover up his head while I jumped on it and did my best to get past his hands and do some damage.  Which, actually, I usually did.  For a few months there, he was always going in to work with a scratch or some other injury.  That was great fun, but when I got my other dog Gracie (more about her later) we had to stop that game, because that dumb chick thought I was really fighting The Big Guy and wanted to really fight me to make me stop!

I have a back yard at my house where I can go out and play.  The Big Guy put a little bitty fence around it, which is kind of funny because I could jump over it if I wanted to.  But, we have an understanding; he put in a doggie door so I could go in and out whenever I wanted to, so I won't jump over his little Barbie fence.  I make no promises if someone leaves the gate open, but I won't jump over it.

I really like The Lady.  She is really pretty and nice, although she makes me eat dog food.  I could usually con The Big Guy into fixing me bacon, but The Lady's not such a soft touch.  But, on special occasions, she still fixes me bacon sometimes.  I had a hard time training my two humans to know when it was time to feed me, but I finally found something that works.  When I want something, I sneeze.  Like clockwork, The Big Guy will drag himself out of The Big Chair and fix me something.  He fixes me dog food, but he'll usually put a little cheese with it, which makes it better.

When I was about a year old, I added Gracie to the family.  Gracie is a Yorkie like me, and I'm not sure where she came from, the humans just kind of showed up with her one day.  She is my friend, and we like to play fight and go for walks together, but BOY IS SHE BOSSY!  She thinks she has to control everything I do, and if I'm not going where she wants me to go, she will get under me and raise my back legs off the ground!  I've told her how embarrassing this is, but she still does it.  She had a lot to learn when she first got here.  I had to teach her that, when you're walking and you find something that really stinks, you should immediately roll in it.  She caught on pretty quickly, but now, when she finds something that is worth rolling in, like a dead bug or dead frog, she'll roll in it but if I come over to join her, she picks the thing up and runs off with it!  How rude! 

Me getting licked by Gracie

She's a good kid, though, and I'm glad she's in the family.  She does, however, have a bad licker problem.  She likes to lick me, likes to lick The Big Guy, and once she gets started she won't hardly quit.  It gets really annoying sometimes, but I guess the dumb cluck can't help herself.  Now, I'm not opposed to giving my humans sugars, but I don't get carried away.  Only when they deserve it, like when The Big Guy takes us on a walk or something.

And I'll give him this; The Big Guy is pretty good about taking us for walks.  Usually we walk around the neighborhood, which is pretty fun, but every now and then we get to go to this place called The Park to walk.  I love going to The Park, because to get there The Big Guy loads us in this Big Blue Machine That Goes Down The Road.  I get to stick my head out the window while it's moving, and BOY DO I LOVE THAT!  When we get to The Park, there is a wonderful trail that goes around this little creek, with bridges to cross and, best of all, PEOPLE TO SEE!  My favorite people are the little ones, and sometimes they stop and pet me.  Even the big people usually will at least say hi to me.  I know they all want me to go home with them, but I just couldn't do that to my humans. 

It's not all just fun and games; I also have a job.  My job is to protect The Big Guy and The Lady.  It's easy to protect The Lady; she can usually take care of herself.  But The Big Guy, now that's a different story.  The big lug is pretty clumsy and, I suspect, not too bright.  For example, to train him to cook me bacon, all I had to do was scratch on the refrigerator door.  Seriously, that was all it took.  So, I worry about him when I'm not around.  Once I can get him through the day and safely to bed, I crawl up there and lay beside him.  That way I can make sure that he don't do anything to hurt himself while he's asleep.  And I guess he's grateful; sometimes during the night he'll reach over and pat me a little bit.  Usually, all it takes is for me to give him a little lick on his arm, and he'll go back to sleep.  Then, I can get my rest too.  And I need it; believe me, this is a full time job.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Awesome Daisy BB Gun

My Daisy Model 99, as it looks today.
 No, it was not the much ballyhooed Red Ryder.  In the mid-'60's, I had never even heard of The Red Ryder.  But my best friend, Randy Bottoms, had a BB gun, and I decided that a BB gun would be my request for Christmas that year.  So, Mama found one in the Sears catalogue and ordered it for me, and didn't let me know which one I was getting, so that Christmas morning I opened the box to find my beautiful Daisy Model 99 Target Rifle. 

And it was a thing of beauty.  The Model 99 had a wooden stock and looked like a .22.  It had a green canvas shoulder strap, which was useful for both carrying the rifle around as well as steadying your arm when you fired.  And instead of the dinky little "v" and notch type sights on a regular BB gun, my Model 99 had two round cylinders that  you sighted through, for improved accuracy. 

There was only one thing about my rifle that I didn't like.  When Randy wanted to reload his BB gun, he just twisted the end of the barrel and poured the BB's directly into a little hole.  But my Model 99 required you to untwist the end of the barrel and pull out a spring-loaded rod.  You then had to pull the spring back (and it would often snap back into position while you were loading, which didn't feel to good on your finger) and carefully, ONE BY ONE, drop 50 BB's into a microscopic hole in the loading rod.  Then, when you had the rod loaded, you would twist it back into the barrel and you were ready to go, at least for 50 more shots.

This advertising flyer came with my BB gun.
 It was a lot of trouble to load, but boy did it pay off in accuracy.  That Model 99 was the most accurate BB gun I ever saw.  If you lined up the sights correctly, you just couldn't miss.  Now, I was not a great hunter.  In fact, I was too tenderhearted to shoot at birds.  (Maybe it was the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Opie accidentally killed a mother bird and had to raise the babies himself).  But tin cans, paper plates, and the side of our "smokehouse" were regular targets for me.  I remember going outside with my BB gun when I first got it, and staying out until I was almost frozen shooting at homemade targets. 

In the summer, I found a new target.  The cicadas, or "locusts" as we called them, were very numerous that summer.  If  you're not familiar, cicadas are about two inches long, and spend their days hanging out in trees making a loud, rhythmic buzzing sound that is one of the hallmarks of summer.  I found that I was able to successfully compartmentalize my tenderheartedness when it came to cicadas.  When I heard one in a tree, I would carefully approach the noisemaker (you had to use a little stealth; if you got too eager the rascal would fly away) and when I established visual contact, carefully draw a bead.  Then, with one shot, the cicada would tumble out of the tree, his song interrupted with a final, tragic, off-key and definitely nonrhythmic buzz.  We had a little kitten at the time who would follow me around and quickly dispatch the dying cicadas.  One morning I found that little kitten dead; I hope it was not from BB poisoning.  But, back to my bragging.  My proficiency increased that summer to the point that, if only the head of the cicada was visible from behind a branch, I could still take him out with one shot.  But giving credit where credit is due, my Model 99 Target Rifle was an extremely accurate BB gun.

(Interesting side note:  I happened to hear an interview on the radio with the guy in charge of the Daisy Factory in Rogers, Arkansas.  He said that BB's are made from wire, which is cut into pieces the precise length of a BB, and then the ends are compressed to form the round shape.  However, the BB's are not completely round, because the center is somewhat cylindrical.  They are then ran through a sieve, and any that do not go through are discarded, because they would not fit through a BB gun's barrel.  Also, many people think the term "BB" is short for ball bearing, but in order to be considered ball bearings, BB's would have to be perfectly round, which they are not.  "BB" is actually the name of a shot size.)  This blog now qualifies for two hours of professional development credit.

Over the years, my BB gun saw less and less action, until it ended up being stored in a closet and never used.  But I came across it one day, and went out and purchased some BB's.  Much to my surprise, they no longer came in the little plastic pouches that I used to buy, but instead were only available in cardboard tubes.  Sadly, when I loaded my Model 99 and fired it, the BB sailed feebly about 10 feet and sputtered into the dirt.  My trusty Model 99 had lost it's punch.

But my brother Phil, who lives in Northwest Arkansas, told me he would take it to the Daisy BB Gun Factory in Rogers and have it restored.  When I got it back, it was just like new. 

But I have now declared peace with the cicadas.  After all, anybody that spends seven  years living in the ground deserves a chance to spend a summer in the fresh air, singing your heart out, even if your song sounds like the sound we used to make with tissue paper and a comb.  Now, if I keep seeing those darn Japanese Beetles, that may be a different story...

Monday, June 20, 2011


The TV Land statue outside the Andy Griffith
Museum in Mt. Airy, NC
While on vacation in North Carolina last week, my wife and I took the opportunity to make a little pilgrimage up to Mt. Airy, North Carolina, which happens to be Andy Griffith's hometown.  Although the fictional town of Mayberry was never intended to be a replica of Mt. Airy, there are lots of places in Mt. Airy that are referenced on The Andy Griffith Show, so it was really neat to visit the town and look for the places that Andy might have visited himself when he was a boy growing up there. 

The people of Mt. Airy, being no fools themselves, have cashed in on their connection to The Andy Griffith Show, so a walk down Main Street provides you the opportunity to step into many different Andy Griffith Show themed shops.  But the best (and busiest) place on Main Street was The Snappy Lunch, a little diner that started in 1923 and was certainly in business when Andy was growing up.  The Snappy Lunch offers a full diner-style menu, but my wife and I had their signature dish, the pork chop sandwich.  This is a breaded and fried pork chop (no bone) served on a bun with slaw and a bunch of other toppings.  It was delicious, and well worth the wait (as I said, the little place was busy!) 

Another real highlight of the trip was our visit to The Andy Griffith Museum.  The museum contains many artifacts from the show and from Andy's life in general.  The exhibits have been acquired by Andy's childhood friend Emmett Forrest.  No photos were allowed in the museum, but it had some really great authentic memorabilia, including Barney's famous Salt and Pepper suit (great for dancing, just right for dips), Otis Cambell's beat up and ragged suit and straw hat, Goober's brown pinstripe suit (and his famous beanie, which had been bronzed), Andy's gavel and eagle from his sheriff's desk, the keys to the jail cells (including the pair that Cousin Virgil filed down to nothing), the original Sheriff and Justice of the Peace signs from the front door of the courthouse, and TONS of other stuff.  We missed seeing Thelma Lou by one day; we were there on a Thursday and Betty Lynn, who lives in Mt. Airy, appeared the following day to sign autographs (while we were sitting in the Atlanta airport foolishly believing that our delayed flight would finally take off, which it didn't).  They also had some beautiful prints of artwork based on the show, and my sweet wife bought one for me.

The iconic signs from the Mayberry Courthouse doors (photo from

As you walked down the street, the theme from The Andy Griffith Show played from speakers located all over that part of town.  It really took me back, and started me thinking about how much Waldron was like Mayberry.  Of course, everyone from a small southern town probably thinks their home town was like Mayberry, and in many respects it probably was.  But I started thinking about Waldron specifically, and for purposes of this blog managed to come up with ten ways that Waldron resembled Mayberry.  For instance...

Main Street was the center of action.  In Mayberry, when you wanted to go shopping, get a haircut, go to the bank, or just sit and visit,  you went to Main Street.  That's also what you did in Waldron in the 1960's.  OTASCO, Marsh's, Plemmons' Department Store, Rice Furniture; whatever you needed was probably on Main Street.  People gathered on the sidewalks to see the gold truck go through Mayberry, or to see the rodeo parade go through Waldron.  Everything BIG happened on Main Street.

The Drug Store was more than a place to get medicine.  In Mayberry, you could get your prescription filled by pretty Ellie Walker, or you could get her to make you an ice cream soda.  In Waldron, you could visit Owens' Drug or B&B and get your meds, or you could sit at the counter or in a booth and have a cup of coffee or some ice cream.  You can't do that at Walgreen's.

Kids spent money they earned.  Little Opie knew better than to ask his Pa for a new toy just because he wanted one.  Even though the Spoiled Kid tried to teach him how to throw a fit to get what he wanted, it didn't work with Andy.  Opie used his allowance to get a new ball glove or fishing rod.  (Okay, he may have used part of the $50 that Parnell Rigsby lost that one time, but that was an exception!)  Most of the kids of my generation didn't get whatever they wanted either.  We saved up birthday money or allowance money or chore money before we visited Parsley's toy counter.  Because of that, we valued our things more, and that's why many of us still have some toys today that we bought at Parsley's or Ben Franklin.

People were known for their occupations.  In Mayberry, everybody knew that Floyd Lawson was the barber, that Mr. Foley ran the grocery store, that Orville Monroe ran the funeral home (with a sideline of TV repairs).  In Waldron, everybody knew that Earnest King was the barber, that Robert Davis or Buddy Gray or Kelly Ashford ran the grocery store, that J.D. Martin and Webby Rice ran the funeral home, and that TV repairs were taken care of by Omer Brigance.  Everybody in town knew that Wendell Henderson was the Postmaster, that Si Rice was down at the Revenue Office, and that Doug Bivins was in charge of the Water Department.  Not only were they known, those folks were also respected.  Owning a business or being a manager was something worthy of respect.

It was cool to sit on your front porch.  At least cooler than sitting in the house.  Most folks didn't have air conditioning; some of us had "water cooler" fans that cooled the house but also raised the humidity.  So, after work, as dusk approached, lots of folks took to the front porch.  Many of the greatest scenes from The Andy Griffith Show take place on the Taylor's front porch.  Barney, almost comatose, stating his plans for the rest of the afternoon:  "Yep, I'm gonna go home.  Take a nap.  Then over to Thelma Lou's to watch a little TV."  After the plan has been recited for the third time, The Man In A Hurry, Malcom Tucker, looses his patience and shouts, "For the love of Mike, DO IT!  GO HOME.  TAKE A NAP.  GO OVER TO THELMA LOU'S FOR TV.  JUST DO IT!"  A befuddled Barney, somewhat startled, gets up and as he leaves murmurs, "For heaven's sake, what's the rush?" 

Everybody had a party line.  Waldron's telephone system did not advance to the point of everybody in the city having a private line until late in the 1960's.  We all shared a line with one or two or maybe three other families.  You had to be patient; if you wanted to make a call and you picked up the phone and heard someone else talking, you put the receiver back down and waited to try again.  But it wasn't as bad as in Mayberry, where evidently the whole town was on the same line.  In the aforementioned "Man In A Hurry" episode, Mr. Tucker is desperately needing to call ahead to the city of Charlotte to let his people know that he is stranded in Mayberry.  But he can't use the phone, because the Mendlebright sisters are having their regular Sunday afternoon chat.  The impatient Mr. Tucker tries to interrupt to persuade the ladies to let him have the phone, but his attempts only lead to confusion. 

People knew most everyone else's business (but didn't necessarily talk about it).  Maybe it was the party lines, or maybe it was just because people visited each other more, but nobody really had many secrets.  If someone had lived in Waldron most of their life, their biography was pretty well known.  But families didn't talk about other people's information very much.  You might be encouraged to avoid certain people, but you were never told why and you didn't really ask.  In Mayberry, Gomer was once serving as a temporary deputy on guard duty on top of the roof of the courthouse, and he could see all over town, including seeing which old ladies slipped out to their barns to take a dip of snuff.  And Barney, under cross examination by an attorney trying to make trouble for Andy, was asked, "Is it true that Otis Cambell is the town drunk?"  Barney sheepishly replied, "Well, we don't say it out like that."  

"Daylight's precious when you're a youngen."  Andy accurately described the importance of getting to play outside until it became absolutely necessary to come inside.  In the summers, we were outside as long as we could possibly be.  At dusk, when the lightening bugs came out, we would chase them endlessly.  The cool evening air gave us renewed energy, so that when we had to come in and go to bed, we slept well.

You didn't miss church.   "Sermon for Today" has to be one of my all time favorite episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.  A guest preacher is visiting, so everyone is interested in hearing what he has to say.  However, as the sermon goes on, Opie gets distracted trying to catch a fly, Gomer falls asleep and begins to snore, and Barney likewise begins to drift off until the preacher, for emphasis, shouts, "WHAT'S YOUR HURRY?"  The calm Sunday afternoon then deteriorates into very unMayberry-like chaos.  It's probably not the case, but in my mind it seems to me like I was at church every single Sunday morning, as well as Sunday night and Wednesday night.  I didn't hear any sermons as mild as the one in The Sermon For Today, but those fire and brimstone sermons that I did hear managed to keep me out of trouble.

School was of paramount importance.  The only discipline problems Miss Crump ever had came from the time Earnest T. Bass was in her class.  In Mayberry, students sat in desks that were bolted to the floor in rows, just like we did in the red brick building in Waldron.  We didn't have to stand and recite like Opie and his friends did, but we sure didn't even think about talking back to our teacher.  When Opie had trouble with his long division, Andy tried his best to help him.  He didn't write a note to the teacher about how unfair the homework assignment was and how it was interfering with Opie's family activities. 

So, I guess Waldron was a lot like Mayberry.  But Mayberry was fiction, and there were no problems in Mayberry that couldn't be solved in thirty minutes.  Waldron was real, and we sometimes had real problems that couldn't be solved that quickly, or maybe even ever.  But we get to pick our memories, and so we remember the good and happy times, so that's why Mayberry resonates with us today.  And that's why whenever the TV is on and I hear that familiar whistling tune, I stop what I'm doing and take a little trip back to the 1960's, to a simpler time, and let it be real to me for just a few minutes.

A pork chop sandwich from The Snappy Lunch

Guest Blogger

Well, someone has finally taken up my suggestion and emailed in a Growing Up In Waldron memory.  Unfortunately, they have requested to remain anonymous, but nevertheless, it's a good memory.  Here is our first ever non-family guest blogger for GUIW:

                  It was a wonderful time growing up in the country, going to town on Saturday night to drive up and down main street with all your friends.  We all had to see who had a new car or a new girl friend.  It was a time of freedom; we all knew the police and the highway patrol (Hoot Gibson) and we all had a great time. On Halloween we would fill water balloons and throw them at passing cars, and the fire dept. would come down the street and shoot us with their hose.   It was a time of freedom.  We had a great theater and all used it for that’s all we had at that time. We called Saturday bacon and egg day,  for people from all around would come to town on that day to wash clothes and buy feed and go to the movies and buy groceries. It was a time of freedom for we could do what we wanted and have fun doing it. And don’t forget the sale barn was owned by a man that was like my dad, he gave me a chance to work and I took it when I was only 12 years old.  It was a time of freedom. We could make money hauling hay or cutting wood. When I was 16 I bought the pool hall from Pop Otis and ran it for about 2 years (sold it to Tommy Williams for 3 times what I give for it.)  But now those times are gone; it’s a lot different.   Kids can't do what we did or will be arrested.  It was a time of freedom.  I think it has taken away a lot of the things that made it a great town and all of you my age know what I mean. Yes, we made mistakes and did some things wrong but we knew not to do that again.  But now it is so strict that it's not as much fun.  I still love that town and it will always be in my memories for a great place to grow up.  
 No name but a lot of you know who I am.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Proper Way to Drink Coca-Cola

By the 1960's, Coca-Cola was already an integral part of American families.  Most people didn't have a Coke every day, but more often than not, a carton of Cokes could be found in most refrigerators.  In fact, the generic term "coke" was used to refer to any brand of soft drink.  On TV, we heard kids ask their mothers for "pop" or "soda," but around our neighborhood, when  you wanted a soft drink, you asked for a coke.

And we were definitely a Coke family.  The Yates' just didn't care for Pepsi.  Now, when Pepsi introduced the totally different Mountain Dew (and I'm old enough to remember when Mountain Dew first started showing up), I will admit that the allure of that tasty treat did cause me to switch my loyalty on occasion.  When Mountain Dew first came on the scene, it was not marketed as the trendy, action-oriented soft drink it is now.  No, the bottle had a picture of a hillbilly standing in the yard of his hillbilly shack, and since we were all hillbillies, we assumed Mountain Dew was the drink for us.  And their advertising slogan was not the yuppie-fied "Do the Dew" that it is now.  Their commercials back then proudly proclaimed, "Yah-hoooooo!  Mountain Dew!  It's goooooooooooooood."

Cokes came in glass bottles that were reused.  In other words, when  you bought a Coke, you were expected to either return the bottle when you were through drinking it or, if you were taking it with you, either put down a bottle that you had brought with you or else pay a deposit of a few cents.  So, when  you drank a Coke, you could take great comfort in the knowledge that someone else had previously enjoyed a Coke from that very same bottle, and that the giant corporate washing machines from Coca-Cola, Inc., had adequately and efficiently disinfected that bottle from any germs that might have belonged to the typhoid-inflicted slob that preceded you. 

Coke was originally available in two sizes:  the six and a half ounce bottle and the ten ounce bottle.  We were all convinced that Coke tasted better from the little bottle, but I have seen no scientific studies to back that up.  Sometime in the '60's, Coke introduced the giant 16 ounce bottle, which seemed to us to be enormous.  You could also enjoy Coke served from a soda fountain, where Coke syrup was mixed with carbonated water.  A "fountain Coke" was a real treat, because after you finished the Coke you still had Coke-flavored ice to munch on.  One of our favorite places for fountain Cokes was The Shed, which was a drive-in on Main Street just north of Buddy Gray's store.  We could easily ride our bikes to The Shed, or walk there if we wanted.  People who buy fountain Cokes at convenience stores would be amazed at the minuscule size of the cups from back in the '60's.  Usually a small was 8 ounces, a medium was 12, and a large was 16 ounces.  Not exactly a Big Gulp.

Having a Coke out at my Aunt Addie's farm was a real treat, mainly because of the way it was served.  Using an ice pick, Addie would chip up some ice from an ice tray and put the pieces in a brightly colored aluminum drinking glass (she had about four of those glasses, each one a different color).  She filled the glass with Coke, and something about the aluminum I guess caused the Coke to seem to be extremely cold.  Man, it sure tasted good in those aluminum glasses, and there was almost always a Little Debbie snack cake to go along with it.

But, back to the original premise of this blog entry.  I will present three distinct serving suggestions for Coca-Cola.  Each one has its advantages and drawbacks.  My personal favorite is listed last, but all three are completely adequate. 

Suggestion 1:  Coke with peanuts.  Best served at a gas station or some other locale with vending machines, you simply take your bottle of Coca-Cola, and after opening it with the bottle opener conveniently located on the front of the Coke machine, you proceed over to the candy machine and buy a ten cent bag of Tom's peanuts.  You then open the peanuts and pour the contents directly into the Coke bottle (it may be necessary to take a few swigs to create enough room for the peanuts).  Then, with every swig of Coke, you get a delightful serving of peanuts. 

Suggestion 2:  Frozen Coke.  This one requires a bit of advance preparation.  On Friday night, you take a bottle of Coke from the fridge and pour it up into one of the pink bowls that Mama has in the cabinet (if your mama has no pink bowls, feel free to substitute another color).  Carefully place in the freezing unit of the refrigerator and allow to remain overnight.  Early Saturday morning, just before cartoons are to begin on TV, remove your bowl of Coke, grab a spoon, and head to the living room.  Then, while watching cartoons, scrape the now solid Coke from the bowl and savor the flavor as it melts in your mouth.  For an added treat, fix yourself a cracker sandwich to go along with your frozen Coke.  A cracker sandwich is made by placing a large cracker between two slices of bread.  I invented the cracker sandwich in 1964, but I'm having trouble duplicating it now because the only crackers I can find are the little two-inch square things. 

Suggestion 3:  Coke under pressure.  My favorite.  Here, you take a Coke and, rather than removing the bottle cap with the traditional Coke opener, you take an ice pick and punch a small hole in the bottle cap while leaving it attached.  Directly under the bottle cap is a layer of cork, so you want to make sure that no cork is blocking the hole.  Then, every time you turn the bottle up to take a swig, the pressure inside the bottle causes the Coke to fizz, resulting in the proper amount of Coke being delivered to your taste buds.  Plus, if someone is bothering you, you can put your thumb over the little hole and shake the bottle, so that when you remove your thumb you can aim a stream of Coke at the offending party.

One last little story about the best Coke I ever had.  About 1988, I decided to drive out to the Grand Canyon, since Teddy Roosevelt said it was the one sight that every American should see, and I hadn't seen it.  I was awestruck.  I hadn't planned to do any hiking, but there was a little trail that wound around the edge of the canyon, and there were many bus stops along the route, so I just spontaneously decided to hike for a while.  It was a beautiful, pleasant hike, but I had no water.  Now, I was never in danger, I could have stopped and gotten on a bus at any time, but I was just really enjoying hiking along the rim.  I was getting a little thirsty, but I knew that there was no water available until the end of the trail, a little store called Hermit's Rest.  I came to one parking area and saw a little family there, and the dad was using his canteen to pour water out to wash his little girl's hands.  I almost asked those total strangers for a drink, but my pride wouldn't let me.  So, I soldiered on, and after a long, long walk, I finally made it to Hermit's Rest in time to catch the last bus back down to Grand Canyon Village.  After getting a drink of water, I noticed a Coke machine and paid what seemed at the time to be the exorbitant price of seventy cents for a Coke.  But that Coke tasted so good.  I sat there beside a little fence and watched this cat that was climbing on a branch that extended out over the canyon, evidently oblivious to the distance below it.  I just drank my Coke and watched that cat until the bus came to give me a ride back down.  I'll tell you, that was one great Coke!

Click here to see a Coca-Cola commercial from 1954...