"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Iced Tea

A friend mentioned it to me in an email,

Foreign words I rarely use,

Words I rarely hear mentioned,

Still, they sounded good,



Iced tea.

I don't drink it much.

I prefer hot tea.

After all, Earl Grey isn't very good chilled.

Still, it sounded good.

After all, it is summer.

I decided I would make some,

Though it is a lot of work

As there aren't any mixes or formulas around the house,

No pre-made gallon jugs,

No glass bottles with popping tops.

Iced tea has to be made from hot tea,

Brewed hot and served cold.

It is a lot of work to go through for a glass of iced tea,

But I was determined to do it.

I filled a pan half full with water from the faucet,

Put more water in the hot pot,

Plugged it in on the kitchen table.

I pulled the giant box of regular tea out of the cupboard,

Grabbed a few bags,

Ripped open the packages,

Tied the strings together,

And waited.

The hot pot became hot.

I poured in the water,

Replaced the lid,

Waited some more.

Eventually, I heard sounds,

Hints that it might be almost ready,

But it wasn't quite ready yet.

I wanted it hotter,

Really boiling,

Thinking it would brew stronger tea.

I waited some more,

Removed the lid again

And decided it was time to add the tea bags.

I dropped them in,

Wrapped the knotted strings around the handle,

Watched the water turn darker

And darker.

I left the pan on the burner on a lower setting (again, hoping the heat would help it brew) and set out to retrieve the pitchers,

Old plastic pitchers I've used for as long as I can remember

For Kool-Aid,

Crystal Light,

And, once before, for iced tea

(The memory of which has kept me from making more - it took forever).

I filled them partway with water and ice,

Hoping to keep the water cool enough to offset the tea,

Which would surely still be warm when I poured it in.

I dropped some ice in the tea, too,

Hoping to cool it down faster.

The ice vanished quickly,

Brown foam appeared around the melting "cubes".

Before long,  all the ice had melted

And the water was dark and still once again.

I moved the pan off the stove,

Hoping to get it as far away from the heat as was convenient.

Then I waited some more.

After a while, I went over to check the tea.

It was still too hot,

So I waited some more,

Then went over to check again.

Finally, it seemed ready.

I moved it close to the pitchers,

Ready to pour . . .

And I made a huge mess.

Note to self:  Next time, use a bigger pan and don't fill it so full.

After I cleaned up the table,

And the pitchers,

And the chair,

And the floor,

I retrieved the old, long-handled wooden spoon and began to stir,

Creating whirlpools in the dark brown water.

When I finished, I poured a tiny bit,

Just to taste.

It was a little weaker than I expected,

But still good.

I thought I did pretty well, considering it was only my second attempt at iced tea.

I slid the lids on the pitchers (before I bumped into one of them and made even more of a mess)

And squeezed them into the empty space I'd created in the refrigerator.

It was a lot of work for a glass of iced tea,

But it was a fun experience,

Full of tiny little gifts

Like foaming ice cubes

And big messes,

Clumps of tea bags

And smooth wooden spoon handles.

Besides, I can probably get more than one glass of iced tea out of two pitchers.

Of course, that's assuming that someone else won't get into them first.

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