25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE   BY ANGEL NUÑEZ

No Coke - only Lemonade


A
wan one rum-an-coke." "I'll have a Cuba Libre." Both of these drinks are a blend of rum plus CocaCola, only that the Cuba Libre has a touch of lime.

Now imagine going back when there was no Coca-Cola on the island. Well, there was a time when there were only two kinds of soR drinks or sodas available in San Pedro. They were Chavannes' Lemonade and Bradley's Lemonade. First of all they were not all of a lime or lemon flavour. These drinks came in grape, strawberry, lemon, pineapple, ginger, cream soda, orange and root beer. They came in recycled ten ounce pints, 24 ofthem neatly packed in a carton box with a cover. Each pint had a beautiful color paper label which was removed whenever the bottle was washed, and a new label was glued on.

One had to take his empty pint or bottle to the store to purchase his lemonade (pronounced as leemonade by all Belizeans). It sold for ten cents. You got two cents when you sold an empty pint to Mista Dolito at the store.

You would think that at ten cents a pint, everyone would be drinking lemonade five times a day. No, my dear. Lemonade was drunk only on Sundays because ten cents was a lot of money then.

In my family two of us shared a leemonade. This usually brought some fighting as one wanted red and another one wanted orange or cream soda. Children did not like ginger because it was hot like pepper. "Este ginger pica," a child would exclaim. And my dad would not let us buy root beer because of the word "beer" and it was believed that it had a tiny amount of alcohol.

For Christmas or a birthday, the family would buy a case of leemonade. Then we could have a full pint all for ourselves. But at parties one got half a glass, with no ice, of course.

The leemonade was a popular birthday party present also. One would wrap up a pint and put a nice ribbon on it and nobody knew what the gift wrap contained. The leemonade was in our days, the most prized gift for any child.

When the Elsa P. used to arrive with a stock of leemonade, the shop owner would carry them on the shoulder to his store. Occasionally the whole stock would arrive totally wet and the boxes were falling to pieces. Then the carrying was by bucket or sacks. Regretfully, today both of these very popular soft drinks are out of the market. Today we find about 50 choices of drinks in the market and regretfully we do not find these two truly Belizean products. To Mista Bradley and Mista Chavannes of Belize City we say "muchas gracias" for those tasty leemonades.

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