I Forgot How Good Cherry Kool-Aide Tastes

desolate MNIt was -22 degrees today in Minnesota. On my lunch break I decide to stop at my favorite AAA office, because I needed some brochures to plan a trip out of this frozen tundra. If I have something, some big adventure to look forward to, I can go about my business in this state, even in the winter, with a smile on my face, because I have something to look forward to. It is a secret I learned about myself long ago.

Well I was off, but quickly grumbling in the entry way of my office building, because at these temperatures one needs every square inch of skin covered or it freezes. I had my coat, hat and scarf, but had forgotten my mittens back up on the 4th floor. I knew I could run to my car with my hands in my pockets, but I quickly realized I had to go back for the mittens because at -22 degrees I would not be able to work the icy steering wheel without gloves. So back upstairs I went.

Sufficiently crabby by now, I made my way to my car, mentally patting myself on the back for buying the car with the seat heaters. I opened the door and even the steel of the car door creaked like it was in pain. I sat and warmed my car the requisite 10 minutes—something my husband insisted should be done in this weather—to drive only five miles to the AAA travel office. As I pulled up to the strip mall setting of their office I could see all kinds of travel posters taped in the windows in awkward angles like music group posters in a thirteen year old kid’s bedroom. I already felt better, excited.

I found refuge in the warm office, and I swear they had the heat turned on high to purposely give one the feeling of better climates. As I peeled off my layers I could hear the steel drum music playing over the sound system, and I could hear the chatter of travel agents on their headsets, booking flights and explaining package tours to eager Minnesotans ready to escape.

I was waived to the seating area by the receptionist as she finished with her caller. They had Disney cruise and Disney park information everywhere and they had Mickey Mouse cookies and cherry Kool-aide in a large clear sweaty pitcher, complete with Mickey Mouse-shaped floating ice cubes. I poured myself a glass and washed down a Mickey cookie,  my cheeks tingling from the change in temperature. It was not a painful tingle, but almost an awakening of a sleeping limb tingle that brought a smile to your face. I could taste the sweet cool cherry flavor descend all the way down my throat and into my stomach. I could not just have one glass. It was like tasting the most refreshing drink I have ever had. It tasted like vacation and summer and picnics. It tasted like warm sunshine and bare feet in the sand. I forgot how good cherry Kool-aide tastes!

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