Texans and Iced Tea

Don’t come between Texans and their ice tea

By Carla McKeown

When I was a kid, we were an iced tea family, specifically, a Lipton brand iced tea family.

For just about every lunch and supper meal we ate at home, we — adults and kids — drank iced tea. Lots of iced tea.

Now, being Texans, and most of the time we were West Texans, we never used the more formal term “iced tea.” Usually, it was “ice tea” or just plain “tea.”

Most of us were probably grown before we realized other people in the world drank tea hot, like coffee or hot chocolate.

In our world, tea was always iced, and, at that time, heavily sugared. Never lemon, but we always had sweetened tea, aka “sweet tea.”

Nowadays, with many of our extended family members wanting to lose a little bit of weight or fighting blood sugar problems, most pitchers of tea are unsweetened and everyone adds their own choice – “pink suff,” “blue stuff,” sugar, etc.

I don’t remember not drinking tea. I know that when I was a baby, I drank formula. But, from my earliest memories, I only remember tea.

In fact, one of my parents’ fondest embarrassing stories to tell about me involves tea. It seems that on the occasion that they entertained friends when I was a toddler, I would sneak around, eating pickles and drinking iced tea. So much that I’d make myself sick.

Then, my mom would have to stop what she was doing and give me a bath.

Some people might think that’s the embarrassing part of the story. But, no, that’s not the end of it.

After my bath, while my mom was distracted with getting me a towel or finding clean clothes, I’d streak down the hall and through the middle of the party. And, yes, I do mean streak in that “Ethel, get your clothes on” 1970s connotation.

Fortunately, my little darling daughter never put on such a show. Or, maybe that’s why I was never too excited about having a dinner party when Anna was that young.

It also may explain why Tony and I have served Anna milk and juice for most of her young life. Some of Anna’s cousins had iced tea in their bottles, but we kept tea for the adults and gave her apple juice, milk and only the occasional glass of iced tea.

When we did serve Anna tea, she rarely drank more than a sip or two.

Until recently. I guess now that she’s in the first grade, lost two front teeth and knows everything there is to know, Anna has decided that she’s ready to drink tea. At most meals, she requests iced tea with her meal.

I feel like my baby’s not a baby anymore!

Instead of two glasses of tea and a cute little cup of apple juice, we’re filling three big glasses with ice and finishing off an entire pitcher of tea in one meal.

I haven’t put tea in her school lunch Thermos yet. She’s still buying milk or taking apple juice.

And, we haven’t let her have coffee yet. Maybe she isn’t quite grown yet.

(Originally published Nov. 11, 2006, in the Breckenridge American newspaper)

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