Cold Drinks 50 cents

It was a scorcher here in Mooresville today. Easily in the upper 90s. I had been out to the YMCA to see about a membership, took a wrong turn and ended up right at the outskirts of the latest retail development. Beyond the parking lot, flat empty fields stretched southwards. There were about eight uprooted oak tree trunks piled up right at the edge the field. Cleared away to make room for more concrete and buildings to spread out.

I parked behind an unlet building and as I walked over to the trees, a pair of birds flew away into the hot, empty sky. There were still berries and weeds growing among the dead wood. An oak sapling was struggling valiantly for life, but the leaves were starting to turn yellow.

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I got back in the car and headed towards downtown. As I drove down Statesville Avenue, a kid was standing next to the curb, yelling and holding up a piece of paper which read ‘ICE TEA & LEMONADE – 50¢ A CUP’. So I had to turn around and stop. Three girls had set up a cold drink business selling sweet tea, lemonade and a ‘sort of citrus drink’. I opted for a plastic cup of sweet tea. The kid brother was in charge of marketing.

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I must digress for a moment and explain ‘sweet tea’ to my British readers. There are two traditional iced teas in the United States. The only variation between them is sugar. Southerners swear by their traditional sweet ice tea and drink it by the gallons. In the South, ice tea is not just a summertime drink, it is served year round with most meals. When people order tea in a Southern restaurant, chances are they will get sweet ice tea. Outside of the southern states, iced tea is served unsweetened or “black,” and most people have never even heard of sweet tea. The Mason-Dixon line never made any sense. The South begins where the restaurants serve sweet tea.

So I paid up and received a red plastic cup of pretty good lukewarm tea with a few ice cubes in it. I was advised to ‘hold it in front of the air conditioner to cool it off”. I was told that they had set up business yesterday and that it had been slow so far. I promised to let folks know where to get a cold drink on a hot day. So if you are heading down Statesville Ave towards Main St, look out for the yelling kid at the curb and stop in for a cool drink.

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