Want Some Cold Duck?

Grampa started in early with offers of Cold Duck. The same Cold Duck he had obviously already been enjoying. Even my Dad didn’t want any of that swill. Instinctively, I shrunk back, standing behind my Mom.

Although Mom and Dad assured Grampa no one wanted any Cold Duck, he would check in with us on this point every few minutes anyway with a barrage of “Want some Cold Duck? You sure? Cold Duck?”

While nudging each other and repeatedly asking, “want some Cold Duck” would eventually become a running joke in our family, at that moment we were trapped in a loop of Cold Duck offers. Would we ever be able to leave without drinking Cold Duck?Β 

Perhaps he was so drunk, he thought he was funny. Or perhaps he was so drunk he kept forgetting he had already checked on our desire for some Cold Duck. Or perhaps he was so drunk, he didn’t realize how inappropriate it was to offer his grandchildren Cold Duck.

The only thing I knew for sure…he was so drunk.

Luckily, he snapped out of his Cold Duck obsession long enough to remember he had ice cream.

“Do you want some Metropolitan ice cream?”

I shot a look at my Mom. Did I? We were all wary. What the heck was Metropolitan ice cream?

“What’s Metropolitan, Grampa?”

“You know, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry…Metropolitan.”

“Oh, you mean Neapolitan?”

“No, it’s called Metropolitan.”

We went back and forth on this until Grampa was good and pissed. He insisted he was right and said, “I’ll show you.”

We dutifully followed him to the kitchen, dreading the moment when he realized his error.

But instead, we watched in disbelief as he held up the carton of ice cream and said, “see, it’s Metropolitan” while simultaneously pointing to the word “Neapolitan.”

Grampa did not need any more Cold Duck.

This post was inspired by the Write on Edge RemembeRED writing prompt to write a memoir piece in which wine, coffee, or chocolate features prominently.

My Dad’s parents were a real treat…but making fun of Grampa was usually good for a laugh. Neapolitan isn’t very common anymore, but whenever I see it, I still call it “metropolitan.” And I still don’t want any Cold Duck, thanks for asking.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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23 Responses to “Want Some Cold Duck?”

  1. frenchcanadianamerican
    Monday, February 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Every time I mean to say Neapolitan, I say Napoleon..
    What the heck is Cold Duck??

    • logyexpress
      Monday, February 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Hey Ned. Cold Duck is really, really, really cheap wine.

      • frenchcanadianamerican
        Monday, February 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

        Oh. I’ve found bottles of wine for 2 euros here. I’m assuming it’s worse than that?

        • logyexpress
          Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

          I read that its origins are German and that they’d throw together the dregs of different wines and then mix with champagne. It’s a few bucks. It was popular when I was young.

  2. JD @ Honest Mom
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    I didn’t know what Cold Duck was, either. But I gathered it was alcohol – and not exactly a nice Cabernet – from the “swill” line. Perhaps it’s the “Boons” of your area?

    And I always called Neapolitan “Napoleon,” too!

    Very funny stuff. (Here from WOE.)

    • logyexpress
      Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks! Yeah it’s cheap sparkling wine. My Mom got a little prickly after reading this, she argued it’s good and not THAT cheap. Struck a nerve I guess!

  3. Nancy C
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I love how this story brings the entire family to life….the dialogue, the running joke, and the tense moment thankfully turned to laughter.

    There’s a darkness here, but such a resilient spirit, too.

    • logyexpress
      Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Nancy, thanks. I’m glad it came across how I meant it.

  4. slytherclawchica
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    I’m definitely on the “Napoleon” train, here!

    I like the way you took this – I don’t know if there’s any bitterness about your grandfather and his love of Cold Duck, but if there is, it doesn’t come through in the writing. Your tale of your family reads like a band of musketeers, trapped in corner and waiting for a way to distract the man who’s cornered them, in a lightly humorous way. Thank you. :-)

    And, as a side note, I really like your “About Me” page. Anyone who speaks and writes the same is a’ok in my book!

    • logyexpress
      Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks, Amber! I’m glad I didn’t convey bitterness, because even though a lot of the time wasn’t fun and games I wasn’t going for bitterness here, was trying to give the background to a family inside joke. I love your description of my family as a band of muskateers. That’s kind of what it felt like sometimes.

      Thanks for the compliment about my About Me page. I’m embarrassed at how long I worked on that!

  5. Tina
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Boy, do I remember Cold Duck! I got drunk on that when I graduated from high school. I don’t even think that they make that anymore, or at least I haven’t seen it since. I do not have fond memories of that stuff.

    I like the darkly funny humor here; the joke that isn’t really a joke. That takes some pretty smart writing, to layer everything so skillfully.

    • logyexpress
      Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

      Thanks Tina! When I did a little internet searching, it looks like Cold Duck is now one of the flavors of “Andre” brand wine. I had some Andre “champagne” one New Year’s before I was entitled to drink legally (ahem!) and don’t have fond memories of that stuff either.

  6. paralaxvu
    Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Hate cold duck, love neopolitan ice cream–which is available a lot here in the San Diego, CA, area. Also love your post AND blog!

    • logyexpress
      Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks! My favorite version of neapolitan was on a school trip to France. Our dessert one night was a slice of chocolate, vanilla and pistachio ice cream. So good.

  7. bbeingcool
    Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    What a vivid memory you have of this time! I love the way you showed how wary you were of you grampa – as any child would be, clearly that is something you remember really well. I am still wary of a lot of my uncles who also liked to drink, drunks can be scary and unpredictable.

    I am not sure whether you are portraying this as a good memory or a bad one?

    • logyexpress
      Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 2:11 am #

      Good or bad? Yes! Probably a little of both. I didn’t like spending time with my Dad’s parents. But it was pretty funny when Grampa messed up the ice cream name. And these things became running jokes the rest of us enjoyed then continuing to today. So more good than bad.

  8. barbara @ de rebus, via Write on Edge
    Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    This was quite amusing! I, like, many of your other commentators had never head of Cold Duck. I thought it was some kind of extremely cheep whiskey or bourbon (you know… Wild Turkey, Cold Duck) πŸ˜‰

    This piece quite excellently conveyed both the evident affection and exasperation of your family for your Grandpa. Very well done!


    • logyexpress
      Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      I too always confused Wild Turkey and Cold Duck. But this particular event changed that! Thanks for the nice comment!

  9. Chibi Jeebs
    Friday, March 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I wonder if Cold Duck is Baby Duck’s older brother: my family liked to give me the tiniest splash at Christmas when was a wee tot because it was “funny.” Don’t like wine to this day! πŸ˜‰

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      I don’t like wine either. But that’s because I have the palate of a 5-year old. Don’t like anything bitter tasting…that includes coffee too.

  10. Sarcasm Goddess
    Friday, March 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    So um, what’s Cold Duck? My friend and I drink a really cheap wine from Wal Mart called Lucky Duck. It’s delicious. True story.

    I love me some Metropolitan ice cream. Yum!

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Cold Duck is cheap sparkling wine. It was quite prevalent in my youth (the 80s). Haven’t seen it in a long time. Lucky Duck is a good name!

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