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Memories of the ‘Coke Man’

Some people know him as the “Coke Man.” And it fits. After all, Noel Cook, 91, worked as a delivery driver for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company for nearly 30 years (he still won’t drink the other kind).

Born to a family of four in the Midway community in eastern Butler County, Cook remembers walking to their country school as a young boy, and hitching up the horse and buggy to ride to church on Sundays.

One of his main chores was chopping stove wood, but he preferred playing ball with his dad.

“He’d throw it over the house and I’d have to run around and catch it,” he says with a twinkle in his dark eyes.

Cook enjoyed playing his dad’s shadow. “One of my biggest things was following after my dad. When I was real little, I would ride on his back when he went hunting. Later on, of course, I got big enough to hunt, too,” said Cook, who liked quail and squirrel hunting the best.

Fishing, especially for trout, was another favorite pastime.

Love came into his life one Saturday night at a square dance in Liberty, where he met his future wife, Evelyn.

“I was there with another girl and I saw Evelyn, who was there with her brother. I took a look at her and said to myself, ‘That is going to be my wife.’ I ended up asking her out the next weekend,” Cook says with a smile and a shrug.

More than 65 years later, they are still living their “happily ever after.”

“We’ve been married a really long time – but I would do it again,” says Evelyn with a teasing smile.

“Not sure she feels that way all of the time,” Cooks comments with a sheepish expression.

“Well . . .” She pauses. “Most of the time, I do.”

The Cooks have two daughters, Mary Evelyn and Betty Lynn, and four grandchildren.

Regular attendees at the Senior Nutrition Center in Greenville for the past year, Cook says it’s the fellowship he enjoys best, just as he enjoyed his monthly meetings around the state with fellow Coca-Cola employees back in the day.

“We just liked getting together,” he says. No doubt, with a Coke and a smile.