My father had his own way of doing things and that concept extended to some of the smallest details of life…like making iced tea. He owned a little aluminum pot that was used exclusively for boiling tea. He preferred loose leaf tea and it had to be Lipton’s. I don’t remember how much tea he used or how long it boiled, even though I must have watched him do it a hundred times. Of course Mom made it the same way…because he “taught her how”, just as he supposedly taught her how to cook. Dad liked sugar in his tea, and when I was a child we always chipped our ice from huge blocks. He said the result was much colder tea.
My grandmother irritated Dad every time she served a meal because she preferred instant tea. I can still see him rolling his eyes and telling her it wasn’t “real tea”. She also used ice cubes and very little sugar. Her only chance for redemption was that she had slender aluminum glasses and they kept the tea very cold.
I got the same eye roll the first time I explained the concept of “sun tea” to him and admitted that I never boiled tea or added any sugar. I thought I was going to get a spanking right then and there, despite the fact that I was nearly thirty. He occasionally consented to drink it, but he always added sugar and told me his was better.
Since Dad’s death I’ve tried to remember some of the “big” events and experiences of our life together and to record them for his grandchildren. However, it’s the daily activities, like pulling out a tea bag, that seem to bring back the most vivid memories. The mind works in mysterious ways…and I’m very thankful.