Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Memories of Pop

 

January 31, 2018



For a few weeks, I couldn’t escape a small mountain of Diet Mt. Dew.

It’s a taste I can’t stand, representing everything bad about diet soda pop. That weird, unnatural sweetness the moment it hits your tongue to that unmistakable punch to the tastebuds at the end, it’s a soda letting you know in no uncertain terms of its diet status. It’s a terrible concoction and anyone who likes it must have some seriously messed up taste buds.

My father enjoyed it. Whenever I came by to visit him, it was something he’d have on the small table next to his bed. Those tall, skinny bottles resembling green rockets, always within arm’s reach and despite not caring for the stuff, I have a bottle to myself and join him in watching whatever it was he had on television or his iPad.

Sometimes we’d watch old video of professional wrestling, recorded long before the WWF, and later the WWE, became the singular brand of professional “sports entertainment.” All the while, I’m vaguely remembering the time he took me to a live wrestling show at the Sweetwater County Events Complex. We watched as wrestlers like Nikolai Volkoff perform in front of a crowd of several dozen Sweetwater County fans.

We had a few souvenirs, but they disappeared when the house we lived in caught fire a week before I graduated high school.

Sometimes he’d be watching videos of some heavy equipment moving dirt or of some miners working underground.

While he was a proud miner, he had other aspirations in mind for his only son. He had lied about my age to get me into a tour of the old Stansbury Mine when he worked there under Arch Minerals.

For the 12-year-old me, the tour of what was beyond the cavernous portal was amazing. The cool air and the dimly lit underground corridors were an incredible sight for me. Dad wasn’t having any of it. I can’t repeat in print what was said to me, I wouldn’t be sitting for quite a while if he ever caught me in “one of those pits.” I ended up going to college, being the first person in my family to do so.

Sometimes it would be football and I’d catch him cheering on the Cowboys or his beloved Oakland Raiders. Football wasn’t something I enjoyed watching often, but it was on almost nonstop during the weekend while I was growing up. My dad played on an undefeated 5A California team in high school and loved the sport. The Cowboys’ games were always a fun time, especially the years I spent attending the University of Wyoming, when my family would show up to a late summer football game.

Support of the Raiders however seemed more like an in exercise in brand loyalty than anything else. Looking up their win-loss records for this piece, they had some good years in the early 2000s, but generally have had some middling to poor seasons during the last 18 years. Win or lose, he’d be cheering them on and yelling at the TV. When news broke that the team plans to relocate to Las Vegas, he started planning his dream Vegas vacation almost immediately.

However, that day won’t ever come.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dad died of complications from a long-term illness he had. A few days after his death while I was at my parents’ house, I noticed a few six-packs of Diet Mt. Dew in the fridge. My mom never cared for it and it seemed like a waste to just throw them out, so I took them. For a few weeks, I’d drink a bottle here and there, dealing with the unique taste as best I could. Then came the day when I had one bottle left. I brought it with me to work and opened it up. As I slowly sipped away at the green concoction inside, I suddenly realized something.

There’s a flavor I’ll never taste again.

 

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