when steve and i were newly dating at the ripe young ages of sixteen and seventeen, my aunt surprised the two of us with a trip to visit my family in california. having never been on a plane and being wildly in love, we were PSYCHED for this adventure together, and had no idea what to expect outside of our tiny new jersey bubble.
before my momom had passed, she would always tell us of the way of life in visalia. eating fruits fresh off the trees, the way the waters would flood on the walnut farm, the fact that it could be 100 degrees and feel like a refreshing 80. honestly, when we boarded that plane, we had every expectation of some place magical.
everyone wants what they cant have – everyone becomes comfortable with the norm where they are, and it looses its excitement. when our family from new york visits, they’re amazed at the trees. trees that we dont give a second glance because theyre a dime a dozen. when we arrived in visalia it was much the same. our point and shoot was full of photos of every palm tree on every road; of the in+out burger sign, of the majestic red woods and the snow capped mountains. of long days in the pool in perfect weather with no humidity (if youve ever visited jersey, you know this is a rare, almost nonexistent occurance. as i type this, i’m looking a bit poodle-esque thanks to good ol’ humidity). and in our camera roll, there were a handful of photos of sun tea.
ahh, sun tea. truth be told, there isn’t much of a recipe for it. its honestly tea brewed in the sun rather than over the hot stove. its most genius come summer when the idea of a hot house isn’t all that appealing, and i swear up and down that it tastes different. my aunt renee steady had a jar on the porch for sun tea, and it was completely new to us then. such a simple idea with such a huge impact — when we’re missing our family out there, or when i’m missing my momom, or simply when we want to have some fresh brewed tea and the weather is right — a nice glass of sun tea is in the works.
today we’ve had the first sunshine for two weeks, and i’ve been missing my momom something fierce, so out came our large mason jars and some green tea bags. it was also the perfect opportunity to sample a bit from our new raised garden steve built a few weeks back. a tiny sprig of mint and a cup full of sugar, and i’m back in southern california shooting off fireworks by the avacado trees with my cousins. isnt it amazing how a taste or smell can just take you back?
now having kids, it has me thinking what traditions it is that they will take with them. what will they carry on when they have kids, or when their kids have kids. back home in new jersey, i have the best memories of the ice cream man coming through our neighborhood – we would wait on the porch while the summer rain poured, running out soaked to get a snoopy popsicle with gum ball eyes and a pack of candy cigs. i remember water balloon fights with my parents, and listening to enya in my mums greenhouse; opening snap peas with my sister, mum, memom, and great grandmother on our side porch after a good swim, dazing off while the adults talked about adult things i had no time for then. simple times – simple thoughts. i hope and pray that my kids will have the same. that we’ll take the time to not rush for a bit. to brew some sun tea, and make our own memories that they’ll carry with them.
are there memories you have growing up that you hope to continue, or new memories you plan to institute in your family?