I remember summers on the porch, and invariably, the pitcher of iced tea would come out.  In the heat of the summer, nothing tasted better.  The tea was Lipton, of course, and it had been steeped for exactly 3 minutes and then poured into the big pitcher filled with ice.  There were no tea bags.  Those came along later.  So, you have to be careful to confine the tea leaves to this mesh ball with a hinge on it so you can put the loose tea inside.  Then, you filled a pitcher with ice to the top.  When you poured in the hot tea, it made a crackling sound that was quite satisfying.  While some of the ice melted with the hot liquid, plenty remained to cool the beverage for a good long time.

The porch was the place to gather.  Of course, your porch had a porch swing and some other casual chairs.  I think every house on the block had a front porch with a swing.  Of course, our house also had a big back porch with another swing, but that is a story for another day.  As the day cooled down and the neighbors came out, people would wander down the sidewalk and up onto the porch for a chat and a taste of your iced tea.

The visiting would last from a few minutes to close to an hour before the neighbor moved on depending on the neighbor and the topic of conversation.  These evenings were better than the party line.  Do you have any memory of the party line, or do you even know what it is?  When I was a child, the telephone was affordable because you shared a telephone line with a few neighbors.  Each neighbor had their own ring on the party line, so you would not pick it up unless the number of rings was for your house.  Now, I know what you are thinking, and yes, it did happen.  If you wanted to listen in on your neighbor’s call you would very carefully pick up the receiver.  If you picked it up quickly, it would make a noise, and the neighbor would be able to tell you to get off the line.  If you were successful, the results could be quite juicy!

Of course, there were times when the neighbor would “hog” the line, and some pretty heated conversations were had.  But most of the time the phone was a great convenience.  Now, we carry a phone around in our pockets.  It seems like everyone has one, and the age for getting one keeps getting younger and younger.  They make these simple flip phones for toddlers where you can put a picture of mom, dad, grandma, or someone else, and all the child must do is press the picture to start a call.  That is real early training on using a phone.

Modern phones are amazing.  In fact, I think most young people never use them for calling.  They use them to text their friends or surf the various platforms that exist where you can watch little snippets of someone doing something silly or stupid.  Many times I have seen two teenagers sitting next to each other with each typing away on their phones.  When I asked one dyad what they were doing, I discovered they were texting each other!  Yikes.

I prefer the iced tea on the front porch, where the neighbors can sit and visit for as long as they want.

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