I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a glass of Nestle Quick. Well, I can tell you now. It was 10 minutes ago. But before that it was years and years back. I have a little history with Nestle Quick. You see, my grandpa Jack was a salesman for Nestle. He supplied all the local grocery stores with all your Nestle needs. Candy bars, tea, powdery goodness called Nestle Quick, plus a ton of other essential products only Nestle can provide for a growing family. Well, could provide. This was from the mid-70s up through the mid-90s when he retired. Let me tell you, those trips to their house on Lake Manitou in Rochester, IN were the best. They had a basement in their house that had two very essential things: a bar and a closet full of Nestle candy. The bar wasn’t as essential to me as what the candy was. The bar provided fodder for my overactive imagination. I was a bartender, an outlaw, an entrepreneur serving drinks to the sadsacks of town, a crook on the run looking for one last shot of whiskey before “Johnny Law” caught up with me. Oh, and they had cable tv hooked up down there. I could do all of that while the TV played some wonderful programming off of The Movie Channel, Cinemax, MTV, or Channel 32 out of Chicago(We didn’t have cable growing up. We had a 40 ft antenna tower).
But the real treat was the candy. It was boxes and boxes of Nestle Crunch, Alpine White, O Henry bars, Goobers, Raisinettes, and an assortment of Ice Teasers that were there for the taking. On those trips it was no-holds barred. My mom and grandma would do their thing and I’d be left to my own devices. Bottles of booze to the left of me, cable access to my right, and sitting in-between was a plethora of Nestles finest confections(just so you know, I never touched the booze…except that one time my cousin dumped some unknown rotgut in my glass of Pepsi-Free). After stuffing myself with whatever teeth rotting chew I could find, we’d hit the lake in grandma and grandpa’s pontoon and fish for the afternoon. Maybe we’d hit the Streamliner restaurant or Moose Lodge for a cheeseburger. On those hot days we’d just walk down the street to the beach and hang out. My young flesh burning in the still Ozone-covered sun.
Grandpa Jack was my step grandfather. Him and my grandma got together in the late 60s. Grandma left my grandpa for Jack, and the children -both Jack’s and my grandma’s- were still young. My mom was the oldest at 18 years old. There was a lot of hurt feelings through all of that, including my grandpa who was devastated over losing his wife to another man. I can understand the hurt that split caused, but grandma and Jack were together for over 30 years. It wasn’t just a fling. And though I loved my mom’s dad, Jack became more of a grandpa to me than my own grandpa. He was around. He treated me, as well as all of the grandkids, like his own. He was a funny guy. The life of the party. He was either making someone laugh or he was laughing himself(the case of Miller Light might’ve pushed that laughter forward, but whatever). In any case, he proved to be a hell of a grandpa. He was good to my grandma, so he was good in my eyes.
Well, the whole Nestle salesman thing helped his coolness level as well.
Anyways, the Nestle Quick wasn’t as good as it was when I was 7 years old, but the memories it brought back more than made up for what that powder lacked.