Ice tea

Here’s another one of those things about our lives controlled by Yankees – ice quantity.

Southerners love our drinks to be cold and iced to perfection. That’s why we call them “iced drinks.” The ice in the glass isn’t an afterthought, or a fringe benefit. It’s part of the very name of the drink. We don’t want a glass of iced tea that has four tiny failing ice cubes floating in a single pitiful layer at the top of the glass. That’s not iced tea – that’s Yankee tea. That’s tea that hasn’t decided yet if it wants to be hot tea or cold tea. It’s just…warm. If you bring that out to us, we’ll send it back and ask for ice.

Also, an iced drink is never a seasonal drink. Southerners don’t adjust the amount of ice in the glass according to an inverse proportion of the outside temperature. An iced drink is an iced drink no matter what the calendar says. If it’s blazing hot outside, then the iced drink is cold. If it’s numbingly frigid outside, then the iced drink is still cold. You can easily get a glass of iced tea in January in Biloxi, but not in Boston.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that almost all of the fast food places have installed automatic ice dispensers at their drive-thru windows. This means that the employees place an empty cup under the dispenser and push a button. The machine automatically dispenses a pre-measured amount of ice into the cup, and then the cup moves on to the drink dispenser. But wait, let’s back up a step. Pre-measured amount of ice? Pre-measured by whom? It’s pretty obvious to me that from the four tiny failing ice cubes floating in a single pitiful layer at the top of my cup, it’s the Yankees. They’re the ones who prefer warm drinks, not us. Somewhere in Detroit, a factory technician is busy setting the defaults on all these automatic ice dispensers, and he’s not taking into account the preferences of Shreveport, Slapout, or Savannah.

And don’t even get me started on lukewarm Yankee beer.

Tom Daniel

Tom Daniel holds a Ph.D in Music Education from Auburn University. He is a husband, father of four cats and a dog, and a college band director who lives back in the woods of Alabama with a cotton field right outside his bedroom window. His grandfather once told him he was "Scotch-Irish," and Tom has been trying to live up to those lofty Southern standards ever since.

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