Sweet Tea Was Not For Me

Day 6 - Iced Tea Galss With A Straw - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash

Today’s art challenge prompt of tea combined with the warm weather here today immediately made me think of iced tea. I love a glass of ice tea, but have never liked it with sugar added. When I was a kid, we would visit my father’s family in South Carolina. There we would discover something known as “sweet tea.” This isn’t to be confused with sweetened tea, where you add a little spoonful of sugar or packet of sugar substitute. This is a wildly sweet sugar-infused tea, using 1-2 cups of sugar per batch. The name “sweet tea” was actually rarely used when my family visited as it was simply called tea when they served it. There simply wasn’t another option on the menu. Asking my aunt if she had any unsweetened tea would cause her face to contort, shifting from overwhelming confusion to outright disgust. I would immediately feel guilty and ask for a glass of water instead, but this, of course, judging from her newly contorted face, was not an acceptable response either. So I’d quietly drawl in my best fake southern accent that, “I’d surely enjoy a little sweet tea.”

Despite my earlier transgressions, her face would suddenly light up and she would rush off smiling, sometimes even singing to herself, and return with a glistening pitcher. I didn’t like the tea, but it made me smile as well just to know that she was happy. I’d spend the remainder of the time taking fake sips until I could dispose of it properly, but even if she ever knew this, she didn’t seem to care. It was simply a custom to serve sweet tea, what anyone did after that was their business. That’s just good upbringing. This lesson carried with me in life as I grew up and found myself in other similar situations. Sometimes it takes the smallest compromises in the world to make others smile. And given a choice, I’d rather see a face lighting up with joy than contorting in confused pain. There’s no harm in trying someone else’s tradition and, many times, it’s like exchanging a little gift. Sure, maybe the kind you’ll return the next day, but in that moment, it’s a beautiful thing indeed.

It’s been years since I even thought about those times. Funny how a simple drink can bring back so many memories. And I still love trying new things even when I realize they aren’t something I enjoy. If you never try, you’ll never know in the first place. And, for me, knowing the things you don’t like simply makes more room in life for the things you do enjoy. These days, I’ll often have some new thing I’m excited to share with friends. And I’ll sometimes find that I’m literally the only person in the room who finds it quite as thrilling. This does nothing to dissuade my enthusiasm. Even a polite reaction is better than the alternative. And I just think back to my aunt who just wanted to share something that she loved with those she loved as well. It never hurts to take sip of someone else’s enthusiasm, even if, in the end, sweet tea was not for me.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Blue (my Da Vinci Trio) + Quinacridone Red. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
 Day 6 - Iced Tea Galss With A Straw - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Love the perspective you’ve used for your tea! It’s been a while but I once read of a study that found people would rather be right than be loved. I think it’s a gut reaction, and given thought most people would prefer to be loved… most people. Whether encouraging someone else’s enthusiasms or ceding an argument when the other person is wrong – I think find a way to let everyone be right.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕I do think many people would rather be right than loved, but I can’t imagine a life where love wasn’t put first!

  2. Carol 2 months ago

    I agree, Charlie. I am glad I tried authentic sweet tea and can imagine myself enjoying it on a hot summer day while rocking in an old chair on a wrap-around porch, but if consumed daily be me it would wreak havoc on my blood sugar! Yours looks perfectly tempting! 😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Carol! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… it wouldn’t be possible to consume sweet tea every day without some crazy effects. But it’s always fun to try!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I love the perspective on this – it’s really eye-catching. As for “sweet tea,” I’ve never tried it. I do like my iced tea strong, without any sugar at all.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 And yay to strong, unsweetened iced tea! It’s my fave!

  4. Robin Gookins 2 months ago

    I have tried sweet tea and it gags me. I like my iced tea with a little bit of lemon. I love your picture, actually I love all your pictures!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Robin! 😃💕 So happy you like my pictures! Yeah… one taste was enough for me. hehe… I’ll take a plain tea with lemon any day!

  5. Jacob 2 months ago

    Love the perspective and always happy to see the BIG straw make a reappearance! Sweet tea sounds… interesting, but I shan’t knock it until I’ve tried it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I’m kinda loving the BIG straw whenever one is involved. Just more interesting. As for sweet tea… you should try it and report back! 😉

  6. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    That’s a lovely glass of iced tea, Charlie. Never knew how much sugar was in one of these until I decided to make some home made sweet tea, once. Give me a glass of iced tea with lemon anytime.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 I have to admit to googling the recipes to discover just how much sugar was involved. No wonder I didn’t like it! Yep, I’ll take the plain variety any day!

  7. June Hadaway 2 months ago

    Umm….sweet tea. Looks great. I am drinking mine unsweetened now and finding it to be quite refreshing with lemon.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yes to that June! That’s my favorite way to drink tea! 😃💕

  8. Lisa 2 months ago

    Sweet Charlie doesn’t care for sweet tea?? I’m gobsmacked! Lol!! It’s a bit too much for me too, and I do like a spoonful of sugar in my regular tea. I love your perspective! Both personal and painted. 😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… I’m still sweet even without the tea! 😉 Yeah, it’s just way too much for me. But I also like my coffee black as well.

  9. smzang 2 months ago

    So many ‘bon mots’ in your article. Good stuff!

    The ice cubes make me feel summer, and that’s a good feeling.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one! Yeah… I’ll be enjoying a ton of ice cubes this summer, though. I’m not really a fan of the heat. 😊

  10. SnehLata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Sweet lie sweet tea.loved both Although less sweet taking.
    But loved glass too.nice.
    Thanks.
    .

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕Yeah, this tea was just too sweet for me! hehe

  11. Dominik Neuffer 2 months ago

    Nice painting and interesting story. I especially like the perspective on the straw.
    Did you know that ice tea was a drink only old folks knew about two decades ago here in Europe and there have been huge marketing efforts to make it popular among the young.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Dominik! 😃💕 Oh wow… I didn’t realize that! It’s always been a staple drink here in the U.S.!

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    I love sweet tea but try to drink it plain. Herb teas are the usual ticket for me. Your Doodlewash is really interesting – the straw looks like it has an announcement to make.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yay, a sweet tea lover! My southern family swore by it, but I just couldn’t acquire a taste for it. hehe… and yeah, I like the make the straw stand up and say hello!

  13. Bklynsketcher 2 months ago

    I really do enjoy your doodles in the morning with my coffee! I’m not a sweet tea fan I’m a hot herbal tea kind of person all year round. Have a beautiful day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks! That makes me so happy to hear! 😃💕Yay to hot herbal tea! I agree… it’s wonderful! Have it every day!

  14. Delores Azary 2 months ago

    I grew up in Mississippi where Mom would sweeten the tea. Now that I live in Oklahoma, it is difficult to find a good glass of sweetened tea. Around here they definitely embrace the sweet tea concept making it so sickeningly sweet! There is a soda place about 2 hours from here called Pops. They have over 500 – 600 flavors of soda at any time. They serve lunch. I ordered sweet tea and it was way too sweet! When I told the server, he said “I know just how you want it!” He came back with a delicious glass of tea! I asked what his secret was so I could order it like that again. He put in unsweetened tea and at the top he added a little bit of sweet tea. He totally understood me!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww that’s such an awesome story!! Thanks so much for sharing it, Delores! 😃💕 Sounds like he totally understood you! And 500-600 flavors of soda??? My mind is boggling over that! lol

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