When I was a kid my dad made the best, old fashioned sweet tea ever was.
He’d put two small tea bags in a gallon pitcher with 3/4 cup of sugar and then pour in about a quart or of boiling water and let it stand fifteen minutes or so, until it looked nice and dark. Then he’d fill up the pitcher with ice cold water and ice cubes. I remember our ice chunks were big ‘cause mom used to freeze water in butter tubs, so it was a butter tub or two of ice and into the fridge. It wasn’t unusual to have one pitcher we were drinking from, another pitcher being cooled in the fridge and one boiling on the stove top, all at the same time.
There was nothing better than to enjoy a tall glass of old fashioned iced sweat tea while swaying on the old porch swing in the quiet, cool evening.
We weren’t rich back then. We didn’t run to the store a lot and buy stuff to use once and throw away. A lot of time we’d drink out of old Mason or Ball jars left over from canning fruit. We’d fill the jar with tea, add lots of ice cubes, screw a top on tight and wrap the jar in old newspapers as insulation. We’d often place the wrapped jar in a brown paper bag along with a sandwich in a baggie and some apple sauce we’d put in an empty tub after we used all the butter up and pushed the ice out to cool some sweet tea.
When I drink sweet tea now my mind wonders back to all the places we took sweat tea in Ball jars when I was a kid; to the barn on a hot day, out to our fort where we were playing, to school in a lunch pail, to the porch swing or out to Grandpa working in the fields. They are sweet memories from days gone by that I do hold so dear and hate to see fade away. I have to wonder if kids today will have such fond memories of their favorite video game fifty years from now. Kids don’t build forts anymore. They don’t carry sweet tea wrapped in paper out to the field where their Grandpa’s bringing in the harvest. Most kids now days don’t know where tea or wheat comes from.
Now, fifty years later I still like to take tall glasses of iced water or sweet tea out and sit down with my wife in the back yard on the swing where it’s nice and quite, but I like to carry mine in a plain ole Ball jar. When I unscrew the lid and take a long pull it’s like taking the lid off the past and pulling sweet memories from days gone by when we lived on a farm, raised a lot of our food from our own garden and made up all our own games. Sometimes I like to do it just so my grandkids will ask why I’m drinking out of that funny jar instead of a real glass and then I can tell them all about my sweat memories from the good ole days and how we used to drink old fashioned sweat tea from a Ball jar.
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to six children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in phychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate level studies at Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.