Homecoming. We were sitting in the stands at McLane Stadium, waiting for the sun to pass us by and leave us in the sweet, sweet shade so we could enjoy a Baylor football game without sweating. When all of a sudden, everyone in our section noticed an ad on the Jumbotron for iced tea. And not just any iced tea—iced tea from McAlister’s Deli.
We all looked at each other, like we’d seen a sign from God and needed confirmation. The questions came fast: Did that really say they’re selling iced tea? Here? Today?
John confirmed it, naming the sections where McAlister’s tea was now—glory hallelujah—available. Amen.
I had already purchased a bottle of Aquafina water. It’s the first thing I do once I get through security, buy water from the first seller I see. Four bucks is silly, but not egregious when I can refill it at water fountains. At the previous home game against Oklahoma State, with the 1 1/2 hour lightning delay, I refilled the bottle many times.
But iced tea! Sweet and unsweet. Sweet John could be happy, and unsweet Megan could be happy too.
No one in our section got up immediately to buy the nectar, but as the game went on, each of us returned from our trips to the concession stand not with a black Baylor cup of Dr Pepper but with a crystal clear 32-ounce cup with a lid imprinted with the McAlister’s Deli logo and pierced with a thick green straw.
We sipped slowly, amazed at our good fortune. How were we, of all people, so blessed?
Yes, $6 was a lot for tea, even if it was “handcrafted,” but I doubt any other $6 purchase has given me such pleasure.
By the end of the game, since so many of us had tea, it became important to keep our cups close. We love our neighbors, but we do not wish to accidentally share each other’s libations. I’ve made that mistake before, grabbing John’s sweet tea in the car instead of my unsweet, and the most horrific gagging noises ensued—noises I could not make on television in case small children were watching.
I kept the cup with me as I left the stadium, sneaking it onto the city bus. (It was empty, Mr. Driver. I don’t throw out tea or fail to finish it.)
I knew I would keep this cup for a while. It would become my new car cup, refilled daily with tea before running errands. It wouldn’t last forever. Nothing good ever does. But it wouldn’t need to. Only until the next home game.