This autumn, Coca-Cola will make lots of things go better. Believe me, I’ve lived through 60 autumns now, and I’ve tried at least 60 beverages and at least 60 different fun fall activities.
I can testify with my right hand raised high that an ice- cold Coca-Cola makes these 10 activities a lot more fun than they actually are!
1. Constructing a Pine Cone Turkey
How long has it been since you constructed a pine cone turkey? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten how? It’s so easy! Just find one pine cone. (Hint: Look under a pine tree.) Put pipe cleaner legs and other stuff on the pine cone so it looks exactly like a turkey. Voila! A pine cone turkey! And once you finish, you can search the great outdoors for even more creative inspirations. How about a mashed hamburger Pilgrim hat? A kudzu Mayflower? Once you put finishing touches on your art pieces (don’t forget the glitter!), gather your friends. Pour them tall glasses of ice-cold Coca-Cola… and give them prizes if they can guess what you’ve crafted
2. Bobbing for Apples
Nothing says autumn like bobbing for apples. Take a big aluminum washtub and fill it with water (or splurge on ice-cold Coca-Cola). Spill in a basket of big red apples. Hands behind you, assume a kneeling position. (Think: Prisoner. Guillotine.) Lunge forward and use only your gaping mouth to trap and bite one helpless apple, then bring it up, splashing, laughing, your hair streaming, to show your friends. (If no friends are present… and you’re bobbing for apples alone… seek professional help.) Note: Bobbing for apples is safe. Never bob for French fries. Or blue crabs.
The big game! You’ve got your tailgate down with six pimento cheese sandwiches and a plastic Ziploc full of bad egg salad in the spread formation. The guy next to you? He just raised a white linen tent with two chandeliers inside, and a dude with a sequined jacket sits at a classical piano playing the college fight song over a sound system that separates molecules when he hits high notes. You see cuts of Chateaubriand, carafes of red wine, chilled towers of royal red shrimp. Is Mr. Tailgate married to that cheerleader? Or the other one? You’d be jealous of him except for one thing – he just personally delivered a glass of ice-cold you-know-what. (Funny how it tastes better in Waterford than in a red plastic cup...)
4. Cornfield Mazes
On your third day lost, you’ll thank goodness you brought the thermos filled with ice-cold Coca-Cola. You’ll even offer a swallow to those you meet at random wandering the dusty corn wilderness – an ancient mariner, a Russian cosmonaut, and a woman in aviator goggles who looks like Amelia Earhart.
Catching the pig is the hard part. A pig is fast and mean. A pig doesn’t look fast and mean, but let a pig get one inkling of why you’re spreading out hickory in that pit and sprinkling on lighter fluid, and you’ll see just how fast and mean a pig can get. My Cousin Billy made the mistake of firing up the grill while his pig watched. When Billy went to fetch his future BBQ, that fast, mean pig leaped off the tin roof of the barn onto his head… with a tire iron in its teeth. Hospital staff brought Cousin Billy ice-cold Coca-Cola. He could sip it through a straw.
What’s scarier than six McNair children coming up a driveway on Halloween night? Charlie’s dressed as a werewolf, ketchup drooling out his mouth. Clay’s dressed as a ghost, ketchup drooling out its mouth. Robin comes buck naked, smeared with ketchup from head to toe. Melody and Marella share mama’s big skirt and blouse – Siamese twins, ketchup drooling from their mouths. Carole dresses in green and sticks out her tongue a lot. (Iguana!) Trick or treat! Six McNairs scream until a door opens… and a neighbor surrenders cups of ice-cold Coca-Cola… and drops plastic packets of ketchup in their candy sacks.
7. Carve a Pumpkin
Neurosurgeons get started this way. Braced by straight shots of ice-cold Coca-Cola, they stand over their unsedated patient. They carefully select their instruments. They draw a line atop the smooth round head. They saw through the skull. They scoop out brains. While they rummage around like kids in somebody’s attic, they poke holes, wiggle fingers through the openings. They leave the patient grinning, but with no clue what just happened.
8. Touch Football
May I quote my hamstring two minutes into the last family reunion touch football game? (“POP!”) The best treatment? Apply copious quantities of ice-cold Coca-Cola to the injury… from the inside. Drink a Coke every morning and evening. In six to eight months, your hamstring will feel as good as new.
9. Raking Leaves
Raking leaves requires one simple rule: Never, ever, rake leaves off the lawn while other leaves still hang on the trees. Why? (Doh!) Because those leaves on the trees will fall down on the lawn you just raked! Be patient instead. Find an Adirondack chair. Lean back in it with a good book and an ice-cold Coca-Cola. Leave the leaves a lawn.
Once you finally rake the leaves, it’s time for a bonfire! An ice-cold Coca-Cola (or 12) really comes in handy. Everybody knows that Coke, vigorously shaken with a thumb tightly clamped over the bottle mouth, will forcefully fizz in any direction you aim it. Well-directed jets of carbonated secret formula stop mad dogs, end fistfights, clean the hubcaps of pick-up trucks… and extinguish slowly spreading lawn fires around burning piles of autumn leaves. It works like magic! Always!
For whatever you want to go better, Coke is it! Happy autumn!
Charles McNair, a native of Alabama, lives and writes in Bogota, Colombia. He's the author of two novels, Land O' Goshen and Pickett's Charge.