Every summer when I was a kid, we’d go to Myrtle Beach for a week. It was a four hour drive from where I grew up in Upstate South Carolina so there would be a couple stops along the way. Dad would give us a couple bucks, and my brother and I would go into the Quick Way (the same way all sodas are referred to as “Coke”, all convenience stores were referred to as “Quick Way” when I was a kid). My brother would get a Cheerwine and a Slim Jim. I’d get Tab and a pack of cheese crackers with peanut butter. I’m in Houston this week and much to my delight, these crackers were in the snack bin in the office kitchen. Some things I loved when I was a kid taste terrible now (e.g., Hershey’s bar with Almonds), but these crackers are exactly as I remember them. Light, almost airy crackers with a mild cheddar bite filled with just the right amount of a creamy and not too sweet peanut butter.
At the Quick Way, I’d buy a couple packs, and when I got too hot playing in the ocean or in the pool, I’d go to the room and have a pack of crackers and buy another Tab at the vending machine. I’d hope that I didn’t get any Canadian change. (I never understood how their coins were exactly the same size as ours, but worth about a third less.) Back in the room, I’d sit on the balcony and look out at the blue-green water and the wide swath of white sand beach.
I’ve been all over the world, to beaches in the Middle East, Asia, Hawaii, the South Pacific and the West Coast. But there’s no place like Myrtle Beach. And it’s nice that a pack of crackers can take me back to those moments.
What snack from your childhood brings you fond memories? Sign up to my newsletter, give me your address in the comments section, and I’ll send you a pack of cheese crackers with peanut butter.