When A Can Of Coke Cost A Quarter

By Joseph J. Mazzella • February 8, 2022

When I was a boy I lived across the road from a 4-H camp. For nine months out of the year the camp was mostly empty and my own personal playground. I would ride my bike up and down it’s quiet, paved roads pretending to win the Star Wars’ X-wing fighter battle above the Death Star. I would shoot basketballs alone at the court and no matter how many times I missed the lay up I was still Dr. J winning the championship game in my mind. I would even explore its woodlands having adventures and looking for buried treasure in my imagination.

In the Summer when the camps arrived I would swim every day at the pool. Then I would sneak into the Camp’s kitchen to get a treasure of my own. My smiling Nana worked there and would sneak me a hot roll and a quarter from her apron. I would take my treasure down to the pop machine and buy me a sweet can of Coca Cola to quench my thirst and lighten my heart.

Those memories are over 40 years old now, yet they still live in my mind like it was yesterday. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when a can of coke cost a quarter and talk to that little boy. I would tell him to enjoy and cherish each day he had there even more than he already did. I would tell him that every moment here is a gift from God. I would tell him to be here now and to try not to blink because the years were going to fly by faster than the Millennium Falcon. Most of all, I would tell him to stop and hug his Nana every chance he got.

Life here seems so short at times. The longest life here still seems too brief to learn all we have to learn, to do all we want to do, and to share the love we need to share. Maybe that is the point. God wants us to realize just how finite life on this Earth is. He wants us to see the preciousness of each and every second. He wants us to spend them all learning, loving, laughing, and growing in joy. May we all do so. May we thank God for today and live it like it was our last.


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