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Another Day in the Country

A cup of tea

© Another Day in the Country

There’s a hot cup of tea sitting beside me as I type. It’s my breakfast tea. Having downed my oatmeal with raisins, I’m envisioning sipping the tea as I write this column. 

If I get really carried away as I’m writing, forgetting the passage of time, that cup of tea will become completely forgotten. At the end of my time with you, I’ll pick it up and say, “Better reheat this.”

I’m a fan of BBC productions. Wouldn’t you know, they always are having a cup of tea. Often, I join them, sipping my tea while they have theirs.

If you come to visit, they offer tea. If you’re sad or stressed, there’s always a cup of tea at hand.

I’ve never been able to understand the English and their love of a particular kind of tea made in a particular way.

It’s very important for milk to be poured in at the precise time, with the right amount of sugar added. Only then can they enjoy their cup of tea. If they are in a foreign place, they languish and yearn for a good cup of English tea. 

I do understand how soothing tea can be. I don’t think it’s the taste, at least in my experience, but the warmth. To hold a warm cup of tea is calming.

I prefer mugs, not a formal teacup, because I enjoy the warmth in my hands and often press it to the middle of my chest between sips.

The heat in the cup is soothing. It slows my pace. I’m comforted. 

My cupboard shelves are full of different kinds of tea. I’m always looking for a kind that will put English devotion into my heart so I’ll long for it.

Meanwhile, for me a cup of tea is a cup of tea. I use milk only in Indian tea. I rarely, if at all, use sugar.

Lemon Lift comes close to being a memorable tea for me. I first came across it some 30 years ago when I was marooned on the East Coast for a summer.

I found myself on the edge of the Potomac River, staying in a neglected old mansion that had been put up for sale and languished without a buyer for years.

My husband was working, my children were far away, and I had no car to go anywhere, so my paints and a cup of tea were my companions.

Walking the aisles of an unfamiliar food store I found Lemon Lift. Since I needed a lift, I bought it.

Turns out, it was just my cup of tea, and when I finally got home to California, I went hunting for it at my local food store.

Because it soothed me in the District of Columbia, it soothed me in California. And now it soothes me in Kansas.

That’s what is in the cup, this very moment, on my desk.

(Pause for a lukewarm sip.)

Carting home various kinds of tea is an adventure. This morning, I chose between orange and spice tea, ginseng tea, Ayurvedic detox tea, Luzianne cold brew, licorice spice, Pu-Erh, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, peppermint, green tea, goji berry — and that was just the lower shelf.

When my sister and I came from California to live in Ramona, we were hunting for friends, people of like mind, so we decided to have a tea party in the parish hall.

We did this for several years, had so much fun, met a lot of interesting people, spent more money than we charged, and worked really hard — to the point of exhaustion — cleaning up afterward.

After the fourth event, we called it quits — at least as far as serving 100 people was concerned.

It was just too much work and it wasn’t accomplishing our main goal. We did get to meet people. We all enjoyed the food. The kids around us liked helping out and playing wait staff, the people who came enjoyed chatting with friends, but we didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy them. We were busy in the kitchen.

So, our tea parties have been limited to a couple of friends, with a limited menu, and we all put on aprons, sit on the porch, and enjoy the goodies.

Sipping a cup of tea encourages you to slow down, chat a bit, pause between bites, and enjoy the sight of a beautifully laid out table and flowers filling the center spot.

Tiny sandwiches will never fill you up, but your soul’s cup gets filled to overflowing.

Sunday morning, my sister invited me over for breakfast. We always eat together on Sunday morning. It’s a ritual. But my table, kitchen, living room, and house are filled up as a staging ground for the Artful Eye art show Friday evening at Centre Elementary.

“Bring that coffee stuff you like,” my sister said.

She was referring to my little packets of Korean coffee that have become my staple.

When I got to her house, the table was laid beautifully — as if it were a tea party — and she had English Breakfast tea laid out.

So, tea it was, with fresh squeezed orange juice, hash browns, eggs, and homemade biscuits to start another day in the country.

Last modified May 1, 2024

 

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