It has been more than two weeks since I said goodbye to an old, old friend.
This was a friend that in my youth was only part of my life at Christmas time. In later years, this friend became my daily companion.
The friend is soda pop and I had my last one on March 6.
Now, if you're a pop fan, more power to you. No judgment. Soda gave me a lot of comfort through the years and I understand. Gosh, how I understand.
But for the reason I am about to share, my relationship with pop is finished.
In my childhood years, soda pop was not frequently available in my home. My parents only bought it for the holidays, so at Christmas, my brothers, my sister and I would joust for who got the precious few bottles of cream soda in the two cases of pop my parents kept in our unheated entryway.
In the summer, I would excitedly stay at my Aunt Lois and Uncle Snook's house for a week or so, meaning time to hang out with my cousins Susan, Terri, Casey and Kristen. My aunt and uncle were not big pop drinkers, either, but sometimes we'd have a glass of the fizzy stuff as one of our choices for a bedtime snack along with a piece of cake or a scoop of ice cream.
And while she doesn't remember it, I vividly recall my cousin Kristen, the youngest of all of us, saying to her mom: "Someday when I am big I am going to have all the pop, cake and ice cream I want. My kids will, too."
She probably was about 6 years old at the time.
As I entered my tween years, my parents allowed me the freedom to make more choices, especially when spending "my" money, so it was a thrill to ride my bike to the little party store-gas station in our neighborhood to buy a can of Coca-Cola.
Mountain Dew became my soda of preference in high school. Our neighborhood full of teens often gathered outside our house, because that's where the basketball court was, and my friend Stuart would recite from memory the ingredients in Dew as we finished our shootaround.
It wasn't just me who was a budding pop-aholic.
In college, well, that's when pop became a daily item. At Central Michigan University, I knew where all the vending machines were so I could buy my soda, which at this juncture, helped keep me awake.
In the last few years, diet soda became my go-to beverage, especially Coke Zero and Diet Dew back when I was starting my shift at 4:30 a.m. most weekdays.
It's a personal decision to give up soda pop. The main reason I did was so I'd drink more water. That became important to me when I realized the nurse who picked the short straw was the one who had to draw from my arm for my four-times-a-year blood tests as I continue my journey as a cancer survivor.
Hydration therefore has become important to me and pop wasn't really helping me in that effort. So while I savored every sip of my last Diet Dew, the relationship with soda pop that has lasted half a century or so is done.
Make no mistake: I have not said so-long to caffeine. Coffee is my new pal and my work colleagues can tell you how important it is to EVERYONE here I get my daily dose.
In fact, if you're reading this at about 8 a.m. today, be assured that my coffee is fully caffeinated today and there's probably a half pot or more in me already.
Everybody needs friends, don't ya know, and caffeine remains a good one of mine.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.