When I was ten, right after my family moved to Bountiful, Utah, my eight-year-old brother Andrew and I went to stay a week at my Uncle David Kimball’s house in Vernal, Utah. The main purpose was to help him rake rocks and make some progress on landscaping his new house, but we ended up working for only about an hour on one of the days, because it was too hot and overwhelming.
On the drive to Vernal, we heard the news on the radio that Elvis Presley had died, so I know the date was August 16, 1977. I remember that Uncle David was quite taken aback by the news. At some point, he stopped at a convenience store and bought us a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and some Country Time Lemonade. I had never experienced these two items before, and I couldn’t believe how good they tasted. My family usually ate plain tortilla chips because my mom always made guacamole and was a purist.
Seriously, as I munched and sipped these chips and lemonade, I was in total nirvana. They had an almost druglike effect on me. I still remember the sense of discovery and wonder I felt.
In Vernal, we mostly spent the week sleeping in, watching The Price Is Right each morning, and riding David and Lorna’s ten-speed bikes. That was the first time I’d ridden a ten-speed, and I loved it. We rode all over the smooth, new streets among the empty lots and half-built houses in their subdivision. Our constant companion was Aunt Lorna’s daughter Lisa from a previous marriage, upon whom I remember having a crush for the week.
On the drive home, I worked up the courage to ask Uncle David if we could stop at that same convenience store and get those same chips and lemonade again. He looked at me funny and said we could probably get them at any store. I don’t remember if we got them again, but if we did, I’m sure they didn’t taste quite as good as that first time.
Uncle David passed away not long ago. As for me, I will always be able to tell you where I was when I heard that Elvis died and where I was when I first tried Nacho Cheese Doritos and Country Time Lemonade, neither of which I particularly enjoy anymore.