Bob Howell

If you were like Paula and me, you joined about 100 million of your closest friends in watching the Super Bowl last Sunday night. 

The game was a study in contrasts. Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay squad were calm, cool and collected. His counterpart, 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, spent most of the game scrambling, coming oh-so-close to completing some spectacular pass plays. But for the young phenom, it wasn't meant to be. He was consistently outplayed by Brady, who is 18 years older than the Kansas City Chiefs signal caller.

Meanwhile, some older Super Bowl fans were scratching their collective heads about the SB LV's half time show. Over the years, there have been a wide-ranging mix of musical genres ... from country to pop and everything in between. 

Initially, Michael Jackson set the standard in 1993 for the shows that rocked the halftime break. His sister, Janet, will forever be remembered for her "wardrobe malfunction." And Prince wowed the audience as did Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga , Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen 

Pepsi sponsored the official halftime show for this year's Super Bowl, which featured a performer I had to Google to find out who he was. And better yet, if he were going to be worth the time to invest in the extended break in the action.  I must admit once I Googled "the Weeknd" (that's his name) I was left with either him or Paula's delicious, fresh-out-of-the-oven, sausage cheese balls. There was no contest. Sorry Mr. Weeknd, the cheese balls won out hands down. What I know about the halftime show I learned by watching replays of it.

But I did wash down the sausage and cheese with a diet Pepsi ... if that helps pay the multi-million dollar tab for the TV time, production costs, the extras, the costumes, and the pyrotechnics. 

I read one article that said the Weeknd paid $7 million of his own money for part of the tab. If that's true, you have to wonder if he'll get his money back from future bookings. You never can tell.

In researching for our conversation this week, I ran across another article about how many of the best known soft drinks had their origins in southern states. I must admit, short of knowing the story of how Coca-Cola came about, I had no clue that  so many other drinks could be traced to the South.

Let's begin with Coke, as it is known these days. Coke was invented by a pharmacist originally from Columbus, Georgia: John Pemberton in 1886. He meant for the drink to impart good health and stamina. Five years later,in 1891, Pemberton sold the company to another Atlanta pharmacist, Asa Candler, for $2,300 cash and other considerations. The trademark "Coca-Cola "designed by the company bookkeeper was registered in the U.S. Patent Office in 1893 — two years after the company was acquired by Candler. 

In 1919, the Coca-Cola company was sold to a group of Atlanta investors for $25 million. A great return on that original sales price!

Now on to other soft drinks with their roots in southern soil.

Pepsi-Cola was first made by Caleb Bradham in the 1890s in the town of New Bern, North Carolina. Dr. Pepper came about in 1885 in Waco, Texas. If you're a fan of Mountain Dew, you may already know that this product didn't come about until the 1940s in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you're a fan of Barq's Root Beer, you need to know that it came from a company in Biloxi, Mississippi just before the turn of the turn of the 20th Century.

And the list goes on.

Happy soft drinking.

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