I spent a lot of time with my grandparents while growing up. My brother and I would walk long distances along the creek that ran behind our grandparent’s house, something we were told countless times not to do, fishing for crawdads and exploring what seemed like new and uncharted territory.
One of my favorite memories from the summers at Nanny and Papaw’s is the iced tea. They never had much money but there was always a tall jar of Nestea in the cupboard. The not-so-fine granules never really tasted very good, and the strange dark brown spots all over the otherwise white foam atop the drink never seemed very appetizing either. But once in a while, when Nanny had the time, we got a real treat. A large pitcher of homemade sun tea.
I loved to stand next to her in the kitchen as she prepared the tea. She always used the same clear pitcher with yellow wheat plants imprinted into the glass. She’d fill the pitcher with water and then gently float the tea bags atop the water, sealing the top with a towel and a rubber band. I knew that later that day we’d be able to drink tea sun tea; and not just any sun tea, Nanny’s sun tea with lots of sweet sugar and large blocks of ice.
Throughout the day, between our trips to the creek and out to the wood shop, my brother and I would walk past the jar, looking closely to see whether or not the tea was “ready” for drinking. “No, it’s not ready yet” she’d say, but it was never more than a half our or so before we were back to check again. Later in the evening after the sun had gone down and there wasn’t enough light to venture back down the creek, we’d sit outside on the back porch drinking the sun tea we’d waited for all day with lots of sweet sugar and large blocks of ice.
Evan today, though they’ve been gone for several years, every time I order iced tea I can’t help but remember Nanny and Papaw, our summers and the sun tea.