The Soda Counter

It is a wonderful blessing when you discover that you have the gift to inspire others.  In my case, it seems that my observation of everyday events and situations translates into words that move others.  On the other hand, it is a cruel curse when you come to the realization that there is no outlet for you to share your gift.

I have been privileged to complete and publish two books.  However, the short essays that I am compelled to write on a near-daily basis have struggled to find a home in the literary marketplace.  I have spent countless hours sending letters off to book agents.  I have emailed every publisher that remotely seemed interested in my genre.  It was only when I began to blog that the elusive outlet for my creativity emerged!

All of us possess the need to have our gifts discovered by others.  Yes, we know deep down inside what it is that we are truly good at, that which impassions us.  But as human beings, we all share the need to be validated.  It seems that our gifts are not real until we receive the acknowledgement of others.  This is especially true for those of us who have chosen to punish ourselves by being artists!

Entirely too many staples of American life have faded off into the overflowing vaults of nostalgic memory.  One of my favorites is the traditional soda counter.  There was a time when Woolworths and Walgreens featured a soda counter; a crossroads for the hungry and tired.  Every lunch menu delivered a blue plate special and afternoons were filled with frozen dairy delicacies.  Hat racks were actually filled with Fedoras and Bowlers.  There was a buzz of activity as urban dwellers took time to congregate at the lengthy expanse of the counter.

Life-long relationships were launched as love-struck teenagers shared a soda, two straws noisily slurping away at the innocence of youth.  Soda jerks plied their trade, acrobatically scooping up hand-packed ice cream and draping it in shrouds of delectable toppings.  Showers of crushed nuts and candy sprinkles drizzled down upon the cascading syrups.  Gruff blue-collar workers caressed waffle cones in their calloused and grease-stained fingers; for a brief moment traveling back to their distant childhoods.

Before you think that I am setting the scene for a gritty 1940’s detective novel; let me bring the scene to a close.  If Hollywood would have us believe their version of mid-Twentieth Century history, there was always a young blonde woman, in a tight sweater and form-fitting skirt, sitting on a stool at the far end of the counter. 

She was the simple country girl who had just moved to the big city.  Rather than hop off the bus and look for a job or place to live, she rushed to the soda counter.  Her luggage still sitting at her feet, she waited for some Hollywood bigwig or Broadway mogul to discover her.  She was going to be the next theater sensation or queen of the silver screen!

Inevitably, the fairy tale would come true.  A cigar chomping studio executive in a well-tailored suit would waltz into the department store.  Needing to sate an unquenchable hunger for a banana split, he would drift over to the soda counter.  Cigar falling out of the corner of his awe-struck mouth, he would sit next to the would-be starlet and offer her a lifetime movie contract!  Picking up her well-worn luggage, he would laughingly escort her to a waiting limousine.

All of us have gifts just waiting to be shared with the world.  I live and breathe for the day when I am on my first book tour, conducting seminars for the masses and appearing on late night variety shows.  I yearn to share my message of hope and inspiration with anybody who will listen.

Perhaps you are an attorney who has always wanted to paint watercolor landscapes.  Are you the plumber who once dreamed of singing opera at the Met?  Are you waiting on tables as “Swan Lake” plays in your mind and you fight the urge to stand on your toes?  Worse yet, are you the global executive blogging away on the deeper meaning of what most would consider ordinary?  How many of us have gifts that have never seen the light of day?  Are you waiting to be discovered?

Along the journey we call life, many of us traded in our passions for the practical option.  Rather than take a chance, we followed the safe path.  Our living moments are now tormented by that little voice deep inside us, urging us to return to the dream we once clutched closely.  Resigning ourselves to obscurity, we are actually afraid to be discovered.  It is one thing not to take a chance and live in the world of “what if?”  It is quite another thing to take that chance only to find out that your dreams “were not meant to be.”

If you believe strongly enough in your gifts, the movie studio mogul will find you.  If you are willing to take a chance and sit on that solitary stool at the end of the soda counter; you might well find out that others believe in your talents as well.  As for me, I will have a large strawberry malt.  What can I get you?

About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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6 Responses to The Soda Counter

  1. The Soda Fountain – Like it Jerry. I have been a bit of a backslider lately, so much going on and machine playing up and losing copy as I pressed to send it. Have always meant to say how much I like the picture to your site. The straight road and the trees, the man and the dog (you and your dog?) it has a directness about it and it is pleasing and soothing to the eye. Soothing in an organised type of way. We have a friend staying with us at the moment. He lives on Isle of Wight – in all your travels have you ever been to the Isle of Wight? Anyway, need to go and see if Leon (my husband) and M have finished putting the world to rights over their third cup of breakfast tea!! Best wishes, Joan.M

  2. Loved it Jerry. Enjoy your strawberry malt. I’ll have a cherry slush. I’ve been neglecting my own blog while I worked on NaNoWriMo. I reached my winning word count yesterday, so now I’m catching up on everything else.

  3. I enjoyed the analogy, thanks. My own experience is that if you plug on, and have something worth plugging, you will get a few engagements at the Met or equivalent (in may case, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance, a few anthologies) but you still might not get steady work, so don’t quit your day job. Still, it’s enough to fill out a Schedule C for at tax time, and a heap of satisfaction!

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