We are there. Yes, June 21 was the first day of summer and sipping sweet tea is a must on every Mississippian’s agenda; throw in a front porch swing and rocking chairs, and you have arrived — summertime in Mississippi.
You know, I had a real scare couple of weeks back. Yep, a scare, that is, for a true Mississippian. I was with a large group of friends and family on an “eat out” at a local restaurant, when the waitress asked for drink orders. One by one each ordered sweet tea, but when it was my turn, I ordered “diet coke!”
Yikes — what is wrong with me? Could it be — is it possible, somewhere deep in my family genes there might be a non-Mississippian, foreign blood that had spilled down to my taste buds? Arrggh! That was just too much for me to even contemplate!
I studied it all carefully. Let’s see, Great Grand Poppa Harrison, Great Grand Mother Calvert and there was another Great Grand Mother McMahan, plus all of the Brooks’ relatives, some Reynolds, some Coughrans — all sweet tea drinkers, I’m positive. This was getting serious and sticky (sort of like sweet-tea sticky) at the same time!
I got out the family Bible. Surely someone had noted if a non-Mississippian/non-sweet tea drinker had infiltrated; but alas, no notes made — not even a hint. There must be an answer somewhere.
I continued my quest thumbing through all of the family tree info — checking and rechecking. No, no, no — no one admits foreign blood. Perhaps we have a “Mississippi Pretender?” I certainly could understand that! Why everyone would want to be a true Mississippian, like myself, I pondered? And, of course, we all know true Mississippians drink sweet tea, don’t we?
Hmm, this just was not sounding good!
I mean, my secret was out. There I sat, like a knot on a piney wood log, ordering diet coke with 16 of my friends and relatives as witnesses, and I didn’t even have enough fore-thought to “pretend” not to like the diet coke! I had jumped off the deep end!!
Was it too late to redeem myself? There has just got to be a logical Mississippi answer here — gotta be. I consoled myself, while my mind whirled and swirled — twirled a little bit, too!
“Now slow down,” I screamed to myself. Yes, slow down and do what you always do, when in a dilemma. Why, yes! What had I been thinking? I always sit in my big white swing on the front porch and, and, why, of course, sip a big cold glass of sweet tea, until I can sort it all out. I have solved huge world-class problems, with this sweet technique — works every time!
So, gotta run. There’s sweet tea, and the front porch swing calling my name! Summertime has arrived in Mississippi, my Mississippi!
Have a great summer!
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her website at annemckee.net.