If my mom liked something, she went all in. She had collections that would have challenged the Smithsonian. Beanie Babies, Spode china, Brownware, cut glass, Santa Clauses, pumpkins, witches, rabbits…anything holiday related, really.
And if she thought you liked something, she'd get it to give to you. In multiple. One Christmas I got 4 pairs of Jellies, a brand of shoe in fashion at the time after I had mentioned in passing that they were cute! I learned to watch saying I liked anything around her.
So it was no surprise that after she was introduced to "sun tea," it became a big thing.
Texas is Southern, therefore iced tea is considered a staple food and flows in every household and establishment. Many folks like it sweetened, but my mom was an iced tea purist. She took hers straight.
Usually, she relied on Lipton Iced Tea, a powder that made instant iced tea. Mix in some scoops. Add ice, and maybe a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon, and you had a delightful beverage to cool off from those humid Houston summer days. No one was making hot tea. Got the kitchen too hot.
Then, one day, some DIY crafty friend introduced her to sun tea.
My mother's life was transformed!
She began buying Lipton tea bags! And a big plastic gallon jar.
To make sun tea: Throw some tea bags in the water, screw on the top, leave the jar in the sun, and voila! Delicious brewed tea ready to become iced tea!
She thought it was the greatest thing. (And you know what? It really did taste pretty darn good.) I remember playing in the yard, running around the strategically-placed-in-the-yard sun-tea-in-the-making jugs many a hot Texas day only to find in the fridge by evening and in glasses on the table at dinner.
At a certain point, those jugs stopped being planted in our yard. Perhaps she lost interest, on to the next big thing. Or maybe, if I recall, she had to stop the tea-drinking altogether because of all the caffeine.
I wonder if anybody makes iced tea that way anymore.
Maybe I will find a patch of sun (on the fire escape?) and make some sun tea in her honor. But it'll have to herbal Roobius…