Last night I came upstairs to make Hick's supper before he left for the auction. He was sitting in his La-Z-Boy drinking a 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke.
This is uncommon, because Hick is a Diet Mountain Dew drinker. And occasionally a Diet A&W Root Beer drinker. NOT a Diet Coke regular, though he orders it when we go out, if the restaurant doesn't have his favorite.
I had glimpsed this 20 oz Diet Coke in FRIG II earlier in the afternoon. Hick had been called in to work on one of his RETIRED days, had only stayed until 1:00, and then went running around after stopping by the homestead before a doctor's appointment. Silly me. For a nanosecond, I imagined that Hick must have gotten that bottle of Diet Coke for ME! Poor, misguided Hick had forgotten that I get a 44 oz fountain Diet Coke every day, AND that I have a six-pack of 20 oz bottles in the basement mini fridge to freshen it throughout the week in the evenings. But it's the thought that counts, right?
Yes, it IS. And Hick was most certainly NOT thinking about ME! There he reclined, swilling that Diet Coke!
"Oh. Are you having a Diet Coke today?"
"Yeah. They had a deal on them. Two for $2.50."
That didn't sound like any kind of deal to me, but then, I pay $1.69 for a fountain 44, so I'm not really one to judge. I went on about the business of making supper while Hick relaxed with a before-supper snack. I guess his lunch was thrown off by the sudden partial cancellation of his 2/5 retirement Friday. I made several passes through the living room while waiting for food to cook. On the last one, Hick held up his now empty except for snack wrapper Diet Coke bottle.
"Huh. Did you see what it says on the bottle?"
Hick turned it around, and I beheld my name. (Let the record show that I've never made a pretense of Val being an assumed name, and that last year I put my real name in the sidebar somewhere.)
"Oh! Did you pick it out?"
"No. I didn't even know that was on it. I just picked it up. Then just now when I was putting my cookie wrapper in there, I saw it."
"Are you going to save it?"
"I hadn't planned on it, no."
"Don't throw it away! I want to get a picture."
Okay. Let's think about this. Hick normally does not buy Diet Coke, or drink it at home. He happened upon a sale at a convenience store, and took two. He drank one somewhere between work and our house, threw away the bottle, and brought the other one home. After drinking it, he saw that it had my name on it.
Let the record further show that Hick collects all manner of Coca Cola memorabilia. A large part of his collection includes bottles with the soda still inside. Christmas edition six-pack cartons, foreign language versions, sports team logos...all manner of collected bottles. But this ONE that had his loving wife's name on it, he chugs and is ready to discard.
You know that if I'd been out combing the convenience stores for a bottle with my name, I couldn't have found one, right? In fact, I've never seen one with The Pony's name on it, even though it's the most common of Thevictorian names, being shared with the likes of princes and conquerors and bow-and-arrow marksmen who have overtures written about them. Nor have I seen one with the name of Genius on it, though his is shared by a famous outlaw, a civil rights leader, and a professional wrestler turned state governor. And I've certainly not seen a Coke bottle with Hick's name, who would have been right at home as the third brother of Larry, the odd-job man on the newer Bob Newhart Show where he was an innkeeper.
I can't help but wonder what name was on the bottle of Diet Coke that Hick threw away.