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Sweet Tea

Sweet tea, southern-style

I’m working hard today and it’s time for a break. Of course my #1 drink-of-choice is always and has almost always been iced tea. Here in the South, folks prefer SWEET TEA. In fact, they swear by it!!! Any eaterie will serve it. It will be sweet, really sweet. When you visit somebody, you will be offered SWEET TEA. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes lemonade or a beer will ALSO be offered, but you can betcha that in the South you will be drinking sweeeet tea sometime during your visit! So don’t turn up your nose at it. And if you move to the South, then you had better learn to like it! Oh, by the way….it is very often served in a Mason jar! Somehow it enhances the flavor (the opinion of a lot of us, haha). Many folks like it with lemon, some like it with mint. I normally drink it with mint simply because I usually have 3 or 4 types of mint growing in my garden.

I’ve been picking a few strawberries and blueberries out of my berry patch, trying to get to them before any of the’nuisance‘ critters do. I’m getting ready for a road trip so I need to tend to my gardens as much as possible before leaving. The blackberries and raspberries may or may not produce while I’m gone but there’s not much that I can do about that. Next up is my herb garden and all I can do is to pinch the tops off the basils so that they’ll grow fuller, as from past experience here in central Florida I do know that most types of basils can last 18 months or more! I’m putting 7 large pinwheels in my main garden to try and ward off some of the birds and squirrels that have been munching on my tomatoes (I have 12 plants already) and peppers and squashes and beans. I don’t know if they will keep ALL of the critters away but they surely do look pretty twirling in the breezes. We do have plenty of winds here in our part of the Sunshine State, and I’m hoping that they will at least keep away SOME of those varmints. I suppose I am the only one that can keep our puppy away from the pinwheels though!

When I was growing up, in Indiana (not the South!), my Mama served us iced tea EVERY night with our supper. I do mean every night: summer, fall, winter, spring. It wasn’t a choice, it was just a part of our meal. She cooked it in a saucepan on one of the 2 burners that was on the long island in our big kitchen while she was making the supper at the stove. Then she’d let it ‘steep‘ awhile. Right before supper, she’d have one of us kids pour the tea through a strainer into a large pitcher and add water and sweetener. We had to put the exact number of ice cubes into each glass and fill them with that beautiful amber-colored liquid beverage. Mama used Lipton loose tea and it always tasted perfect. When any of us had supper at somebody else’s home, we kinda missed having our iced tea. It was a tradition, I reckon, that you don’t even realize until later.

Nowadays I have diabetes and cannot add the sugar so I USUALLY sweeten my gallon-jug of tea with Truvia and Equal. Every once-in-a-while, I make it the old way with real sugar and then cringe as I take my blood-sugar reading the following day! It’s worth it occasionally if I don’t make it a habit! I also have made the switch to green teas. I also need to learn how to make hibiscus tea because I’ve got half-a-dozen gorgeous hibiscus bushes and my Hawaiian pals tell me that I oughta being making my own tea. I do like Jasmine tea. My daughter and I drink a gallon per day. Sometimes I make peppermint tea, or regular plain mint tea, or REAL tea (nowadays that seems to make me hyper and make frequent trips to the loo) but I do soooo love my SWEET TEA immensely! Well, I am thinking that I will go and have a jar right now!


Car Spider


We’ve had a little puffy spider sticker stuck on the upper left corner of the rearview mirror throughout the past several cars. It’s been moved whenever we change cars. He’s a cute little fella perched upon what was once a lavender spiderweb. It probably used to be a darker purple but over the years has faded and isn’t even very attractive anymore but we keep him nonetheless. After all, I’m thinking that he must be our ‘lucky spider’ or something! Here’s why:

When I was left alone to raise 3 young kiddies that were ages 5, 6, & 8….we had a Dodge Aries that’d been selected by my USAF Officer husband. ANY and ALL vehicles I’d ever driven had been chosen by either my husband or by my Daddy before that. I’d never gotten to decide. When our divorce was finalized a few years later, I got a car that I finally chose!! I was in my 30’s and finally selecting my own car; YIPPEE!!! By this time the kids were in elementary school back in my small cozy hometown in Indiana. It started out that I kept having difficulty finding the button on the dashboard for the rear-window-defogger so 1 of my intelligent young’uns came up with the idea of placing a puffy frog sticker over that button so that I could easily find it in the dark without having to stop the car in order to do so. Since my children were young and creative, they had plenty of ideas to be ‘helpful’! These ideas (mostly stickers) wouldn’t have been allowed in the car if it’d been owned by their staunchy Air Force Captain father! The Spider was small and went on the upper mirror while other stickers went onto a few of the other dashboard buttons. This was such a fun project for the kiddies….all the while I was having to memorize which sticker (shape and feel) was covering which button. I sometimes think that my precious children were SOOOO helpful that they nearly forgot that I was not a blind person that was driving the car! What fun they had!

As the kids grew….through a Taurus, my Daddy’s prized old El Camino, 2 Cadillacs, a Saturn, a Toyota, and now a tiny Kia Spectra….only the spider is left on the mirror while the frog is on the button of the hazard lights (for some reason my daughter was having trouble finding that triangle….OR WAS SHE? hmmmm?).

Fast-forward a couple of decades. My oldest son is 31; he and his wife have an Explorer. I no longer drive due to neurological issues….I still CAN drive and I still HAVE a license but it’s just
probably not a good idea anymore. My daughter is 29 and she has the little Kia with the stickers and the revered froggy has broken apart. My baby boy is 28. He was driving a Hybrid vehicle until 3 weeks ago when he and I had a beach day but unfortunately totalled that car returning home. (THANKFULLY we only had bruises and sprains.) The end result is that he’s now getting the older uglier Kia because she’s going to get a small SUV as a trade-off.

Yesterday my son’s fiancee and I were cleaning the dashboard, preparing the car for their journey northward. I sadly removed the broken bits of the frog sticker. Then I reached up to start to peel off the spider sticker….I was surprised by a curt, emphatic, loud “NO!” from my son. His fiancee had a puzzled expression on her face as we told her the story of ‘our lucky spider’.

I reckon throughout all these years I’d taken for granted something as small as that teeny-tiny, or should I say ‘itsy-bitsy’ spider? It’s always been there and even though I’d not really forgotten about it….I suppose I’m so used to it being there that I didn’t realize that this small token of my children’s childhood had become such a fond memory and I am very glad of that! Come to think of it, the Hybrid car that we just crashed 3 weeks ago didn’t have a ‘lucky spider’! Oh my! My daughter is going to take possession of her Ford Escape in a couple of days….I’m thinking that I’d better go and buy a spider sticker for her rearview mirror right away!