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Some go pop, some soda, but I’m a Coke man

POSTED: February 5, 2012 1:00 a.m.

Someone on Facebook, the source of all things true, posted a map of a survey that determined what term folks apply to fizzy soft drinks.

As a deep-rooted native Georgian, the answer for me will always be Coke. If I’m suggesting to share a conversation over a beverage, the invitation will be, “Let’s get us a Coke.”

According to the map, I am not alone. Almost anywhere in Georgia, folks use the word “Coke” to describe a soft drink.

The map shows that Houston County, in middle Georgia, uses some other term. Houston is the home of Larry Walker, a former state legislator with one of the biggest Southern drawls I’ve ever heard.

Larry might have answered “Co-Cola,” if the surveyors asked him about his soft drink terminology. They might not have known what he was talking about. Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton, one of the finest fellows I know, would never say “soda” or “pop,” the two other prominent choices.

The other surprise was Jefferson County, a small county in East Georgia. According to this map, Jeffersonians use the term “soda.”

Folks, that just ain’t so.

There used to be two brothers, Wendell and Ott Stephens, who used to own the radio station in Louisville. By the way it is pronounced “Lewis-ville” and was once the state capital of Georgia.

I never heard either one of them used the word “soda.”

The map does have some interesting information. When you get above the sweet tea line in Virginia, which is above Richmond, you will start hearing “soda” a lot. There is a little spot on the Del-Mar-Va peninsula where folks still say “Coke.”

The Eastern parts of both New York and Pennsylvania will say “soda,” while the Western parts are partial to “pop.”

The pop belt continues across Ohio, Michigan and Northern Indiana.

There is a big Coke area around Indianapolis.

Chicago is also pop country. I saw an older convenience store in Chicago that had a sign that advertised “Bread, Milk, Beer and Pop.”

The West is a hodgepodge of pop and soda references.

If you haven’t lived in Georgia long, we are loyal to Coke because it is ours. Dr. John Pemberton invented the stuff and it was first sold in Jacob’s Drugstore in Atlanta.

I guess the drug store connection is why my Mama thought it had some medicinal qualities. We drank it when we were feverish and didn’t feel weak or had some kind of stomach distress.

Robert Woodruff, who was the man who led Coca-Cola into the entire world, left tons of his money to worthy Georgia projects, including Emory University. They have a world class medical center thanks to the money of the late Mr. Woodruff.

I don’t know why, but our neighbors in North Carolina have a passion for Pepsi. There is nothing wrong with that, but I can’t understand the loyalty of Southerners to a product owned by a New York outfit.

Around the Columbus, Ga. area, there was once an affinity for Royal Crown Cola, which was located there at one time. R.C. was a cheaper alternative to Coke. For a dime or less, you could buy a big R.C. and a MoonPie, another Southern favorite.

For me, it will always be Coke and that’s it.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.



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