I was having lunch the other day with my standard drink of milk and I started thinking that I would much rather have a sweet tea. Sweet tea always reminds me of summer and Grandmama, so that started me thinking of all the summertime drinks I loved when I was a kid.
Grandmama made her tea not so sweet. Always a saver, she put in just enough sugar for you to know that it wasn't unsweetened tea. She always made it fresh for dinner (lunch) and supper (dinner) in a yellow
McCoy Hall teapot, pouring the hot tea over large glasses of ice. It drinks mighty nice when the weather gets hot outside - and you don't have air conditioning inside (except for the window unit that they never ran). I remember in college, I had a friend who came down to school from Vermont. The first time we ever went out to dinner together, I ordered a sweet tea, and she turned up her nose at it. I was incredulous. I told her she'd better watch herself, because sweet tea would catch her soon enough. By the end of the summer, I was laughing when she'd order a sweet tea. I told her I remembered her saying she'd never drink sweet tea. "But it's so hot here," she said, "and besides, it's gooooooooood." Yeah, that's what I thought.
Another favorite, of course, was Coke. Do I remember the last time I had a Coke? Um...no. Not because I don't like it, mind you - I could drink it all day. But, well, you know. Coke. High fructose corn syrup, lots of calories. Anyway, let's not think of that today ... Coke! I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. It's the real thing, baby. I remember drinking it from the bottle (perfection) and playing the game under the cap - never winning, of course, and always ticked that my cousin Leanne was one step ahead of me in the game. Then one day my granddaddy decided Chek Cola was much less expensive, so he switched to that. It wasn't the same.
If it wasn't Coke, it was Budwine. Budwine was a cherry soda pop originally named Bludwine because of its red color. If I could find me some Cheerwine, I'd put it in a glass and pretend it was Budwine and I doubt I'd know the difference. I remember thinking Budwine was really cool because they started making it about two years before my grandfather was born. Unfortunately, they don't make it anymore.
My favorite summer drink had to be the plum juice that Grandmama made. They had a plum tree that grew these tiny, tart plums that weren't very good for eating. The neighbors had the same kind of tree and they never trimmed the branches that hung over on our side of the fence, so Grandmama considered them fair game. She'd gather tons of plums and put them in this big, metal bowl that she would heat on the stove. I'm fairly sure she added water and she definitely added copious amounts of sugar - anything beyond that I really couldn't say. She would boil it all, then pour it through a cloth to strain it, then bottle it in Coke bottles with the plastic caps. The bottles weren't airtight, though, and after a few weeks the juice took on a fermented taste. That's when we knew it was ready to drink. Grandmama would only let us have a bottle occasionally, so that it would last all summer. All the neighborhood kids loved it. We thought it must be wine, since it was fermented, and we'd often quizz each other on whether or not we were acting drunk after downing a bottle.
I have a box of decaffeinated Luzianne teabags that I got a couple of weeks ago. Usually I make my tea really sweet, but I'm trying to lose some weight so I think maybe I should cut way back on the sugar and call it remembering my childhood instead of dieting. Maybe I should check out some thrift stores for a nice yellow teapot.