My favorite Ale-8 memory is of my Papaw Bowen taking myself, my twin sister and my baby sister to get Ale-8’s at the General Store in Rosslyn. We would slide and fumble into his banged, beaten, and faded baby blue truck that had ripped seats and shotguns proudly displayed in the back window. We rode along the windy Hwy 15 to Rosslyn where the store sat at a T intersection and the incoming road would dip way down into vast fields of corn and tobacco.
The General Store was a white shingle-sided building. It had rocking chairs on the front porch and an exposed wood interior. The contrast of the bright sunny day to the dark and dank interior left you blinded for a moment when you walked inside to the cooler air. The store was old and the wood did not line up perfectly so sunshine would stream into any crack it could find; highlighting the dust dancing in the air.
We girls would run over to the four foot Nehi Grape Soda cooler, with the sliding doors on top, to get our bottle of cold Ale-8 and then grab our dusty Hershey Bars; and sometimes even one of the Peanut Butter Rolled Candies from Ruth’s. Papaw would talk business with the men for a bit and we would try to just sip a little and nibble some to save it for when we would head back to the farm and savor our loot.
I get to relive those memories every time I go into my dad’s barn. The 200 year old barn, that once belonged to my papaw, now holds that old Nehi Grape cooler.