Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sweet Tea Memories

I will preface my post today by telling you that
Pioneer Woman's post was
all about the
Mason jar ---
just the humble beauty of something so common,
so utilitarian and at the same time
so beautiful.

I am NOT a copycat.

Last week however, I wrote my thoughts
about -- what do you know?
a Mason jar.

Which just goes to show something I've suspected
all along .....

Me & Ree ?
Like carrots and pea(s)

Sheeeeesh -- on with the story-

To see me through my work day at the post office I always
pack a little lunch - leftovers or a sandwich - a yogurt for breakfast.
And I always grab a cold bottle of Dr. Pepper.
It's my little treat for the day.

Well, last Saturday we were out of DP --- WHAT ???!!!???

There was, however, a gallon of Red Diamond sweet tea
(THE best sweet tea known to mankind outside of McAllister's restaurant).

So, I grabbed a quart Mason jar, scooped up some ice,
poured it full of sweet tea, screwed on the lid and headed off to work.

I set the jar on my desk and set about opening up the post office.
Later, when I sat down I noticed the "sweat" running down
the side of the jar of tea.

I sat there mesmerized as a vivid memory from my childhood
came to the front.

I am a Farmer's daughter.
The farmer's only daughter.
An only child, in fact.

My mom always stayed at home and took care of her domain.
Taking good care of me and my Daddy was what she did.
That was her job.

A farmer's life is unlike that of any other profession.
First off -- it's all a gamble.
And dependent on so many outside forces.
It's dirty.

And at various times of the year --- it is relentless,
almost 24 hrs. a day.

I remember my Daddy beginning the day well before it was
first light. He'd be heading out the door going to his
"office" -- a green John Deere tractor -
to plow, disk, cultivate, plant and harvest.

A hearty breakfast before he left, then he'd be back
for a hearty lunch by 12 noon.
Lunch always consisted of something of substance -
a real stick-to-your-ribs meal --
roast or chicken or fried steak
with mashed potatoes and gravy,
vegetables out of the garden and always,
always there was a pot of pinto beans.
Oh and bread. I never saw my Daddy eat a meal
without bread and lots of it.
Good sweet iced tea to top everything off.

After lunch, my Dad would
rest for a few minutes. Then get up and go back to it.

During planting and harvesting when there is so
much field work to be done, my Dad would stay on the
tractor until dark or later.
So it would be long past suppertime when he would
get home --- starving!

So, about 4 in the afternoon my mother and I
would put together a little lunch to take to the field.

A sandwich or two would be put together --
vienna sausage smashed up with Miracle Whip and dill relish
was a favorite.

We'd wrap the sandwich up like a little present
in a sheet of wax paper
and put it in a paper sack
along with several, sometimes still warm,

And then there was the iced tea.
Always sweet.
In a quart Mason jar.

Off we'd go to the field where he was working.
We'd watch for the plowed up evidence of where he had already
been and park at the end of the next row and wait.

Sometimes we would take books to read or
something to work on while we waited.

He would be there in a few minutes and
most times he would sit with us while he ate his lunch
and drank his tea.

Other times, exciting times,
the clouds would be gathering,
a front would be rolling in bringing the ever needed rain
and he would scramble back on the tractor,
tea and sandwich in hand
and just keep on plowing.

A race.

Farmer against weather.

Remembering this the other day
was such a sweet blessing to my soul.
And I just had to write it down.
And share it with you.

May your memories today be as sweet as the
tea in that simple Mason jar.

Gwynie Pie


  1. Oh! I could just see the whole story, like a movie. What a great story to tell!
    And...dried pinto beans seasoned with pork fat...I'm sure of that! Delicious.

  2. Gwyn, Thanks for sharing! I love reading the many stories you write. Love ya tons

  3. You make me cry friend! Your daddy was just precious! :) He always had gum for Taylor at church... I think he was trying to rescue Taylor from getting a spanking for not being quiet in church! :)

  4. Wow. . did that bring back some memories. . .I didn't know how to cook anything except chicken fried steak and french fries when I went off to college because that was the main meal at our house for years and years. . .food of SUBSTANCE!! except in the fall, we would take those meals to the Gin office :). . . .great blog!

  5. I LOVED this story!!! I too could picture the whole thing in my mind! :)

  6. Just so you know...that's the sweetest, most special story I've ever heard in my whole life.