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  • Last modified 33 days ago (Oct. 19, 2017)

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Another Day in the Country

A good cup of tea

© Another Day in the Country

The English believe that many a gnarly problem can be solved by a good cup of tea and folk sitting down together in quiet camaraderie. So, that’s what I’m doing.

“Have some?”

Mint tea won’t do and neither will chamomile. Too flowery. This tea is called English Breakfast and I like it because it is infused with bergamot, which gives it a hearty, down-to-earth flavor.

I’m in need of something hearty and down-to-earth because I’m trying to choose a topic for this week’s column and I’ve come up with nothing. Through the years — and there have been quite a few — I’ve rarely come up against a Monday morning deadline without an idea or two that would be appropriate for Another Day in the Country.

There’s a magic little folder that stares at me from the corner of my computer screen labeled “Ideas.” That folder is gone. I gave up on it and threw it in the trash.

“Whoosh!”

Empty.

I wondered to myself, “Am I done here? Is this it? Have I exhausted all the appropriate topics and I’ve got nothing else to say?”

“How about a cup of tea?” That should help. And, I took another sip. It’s hot and heady. I breathe in the fragrance and my mind calms itself.

This little space in The Marion Record has been granted to me for quite a few years now. It all began when Mr. Meyer and I first met in 2000 and he asked me if I’d like to write news about Ramona.

“No,” I said, “but I’d like to write about spending Another Day in the Country.”

I’ve been doing that ever since, meeting deadlines week after week — including last week’s, even though I had a cranky e-mail account that argued about my password and refused to grant access.

This thought leads me to ruminating about all the passwords I’m supposed to formulate and remember in this day and age. The list is a mile long.

When I complained about my dilemma to my son-in-law last summer when he was trying to help me “upgrade” my phone, he suggested I do what he does and “get an app to manage all those for you.”

Just the thought of another “app” is so frustrating that I reach for my cup of tea to calm my nerves.

It’s cold. Excuse me for a moment while I heat it up.

In the beginning of writing this column, filled with nostalgia, my aunts and uncles and other old-timers in town gave me plenty to write about; but they’re all gone. New neighbors and new family members, new chickens, an old cat, new experiences, and old memories now spark those ideas, give food for thought as the weeks roll around. Some things are easier to talk about than others. I hesitate to steer away from the tough stuff.

More tea?

When my sister and I first came back to Ramona people would say, “You girls are from California? Why on earth did you move here?”

Now there was an idea. I’ve written about those transitions quite a bit.

One day I noticed that I was becoming more and more like Aunt Gertie, who used to say, “You girls just don’t know…”

We didn’t know, she said, what it’s like to live in a small town, how much grit it takes to survive. We didn’t know how frustrating it gets when people throw away historically significant things.

We didn’t know about when no one has the will to speak out against wrongs, when things look ruined and no longer quaint, and when you have to work so hard for so little. The list could go on and on.

Well, Aunt Gertie, now I know.

And my tea is cold.

For a minute or two, I thought about telling you the latest story about our little tyke. The other evening Clayton was playing with my sister when he stopped what he was doing and looked at her left hand. Jess typically wears three rings on that hand. They are unusual rings, significant to her.

“How many times have you been married?” he asked with awe.

She laughed and gave the short answer, “Once.”

So, what do you say after that? Not enough for a column.

It takes some ruminating to write a column, and some scary vulnerability. Some days it is easier than others. Some weeks the ideas fly in two at a time and almost write themselves.

But not this week. On this day in the country, I heated up my cup of tea six times before I came to the right spot on the page where I knew that I’d written enough.

What ideas, I wonder, will another day in the country and another cup of tea bring?

Last modified Oct. 19, 2017

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