Tea for Two or Three…

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life

 more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony

 known as afternoon tea.

~Henry James

I bet you are wondering what a post about teatime has to do with writing.  The short answer is absolutely nothing.  The more in-depth answer: my sister, Lisa, gave a speech for one of her college classes.  Since it was close to Mother’s Day and it made her think of our mother, she decided to speak about one of our family traditions that is near and dear to all our hearts.  Tea.  I liked it.  So I am sharing it with all of you.  Enjoy 🙂 …

In our family drinking tea is a thread that binds us.  No matter what stage in life we are in, what our mood, or how different we have become, tea brings us together. We dress up for it, we calm down over it, we feel better when we drink it, and we love it.

I am the youngest of three daughters, born to a British mother who believes that there is nothing in the world that can’t be cured with a good cup of tea. If two or more of us gather we have tea.  No one ever has to say put the kettle on. We just know and do it. It is always the same.

The moment the tea goes in the pot and the hot water is poured in we begin to talk.  While the tea “mashes”, we discuss our lives or whatever crisis we are coping with at the moment.  We deal with the bad and laugh over the good.  Catch up on the angst of everyday or just enjoy the pleasure of being together.

Occasionally, we have mini family reunions that involve getting dressed up and wearing our fancy hats and going “out to tea”.  It is our chance to indulge in the ceremony that is deeply rooted in our family.  It reminds us of where we came from and the traditions passed down through the generations. When we put on our dresses and our tea hats it feels like a different time and a different place.  The everyday is gone and we are left with the moment.

I’ve had many friends over the years who when faced with heartbreak will eat chocolate or have a drink.  For me it is tea.  Throughout our lives we have faced many ups and downs.  Like any family we have had marriages, children and grandchildren, deaths and divorces.  In every instance, we as a family have had a cup of tea to fall back on, whether it was to share our joys, our sorrows, or to bring up our moods.

No matter how many family members there are we all know exactly how the others take their tea.  My mother, for instance, has always enjoyed her tea strong and black. No one would dare add milk or sugar to hers. When faced with her frown the strongest of us have been known to cringe.  At the very least you could expect to be on the receiving end of a rather strong lecture on the art of taking tea from an 81 year old woman with a colorful vocabulary and the sound of a fading English accent. Knowing how someone likes their tea is almost as important as knowing how someone likes their family. I hope this is a family trait that goes on for as long as our bloodline continues.

10 thoughts on “Tea for Two or Three…

  1. This is a delightful post about one of my favorite things. Tea!
    Suddenly I find myself pulling out my favorite recipes for scones and quick-clotted cream.Today is going to be a series of appointments and long drives, but I have an hour before it all begins so I am going with the inspiration. Maybe I’ll put together some chicken salad for tea sandwiches. . ..

    This evening I’ll warm up the cups and put a cloth on the table while we wait for the tea to mash, and then we’ll settle in to enjoy one another’s company for an hour or so.

    Wish you could join us.
    🙂

  2. What a great post! I lean more toward coffee than tea these days, but there was a time when I drank nothing BUT tea. I tend to like herbal teas the best, no milk, lemon or sugar, just the taste of the tea. Jasmine is a particular favorite.

    What a great tradition you have in your family, Kylie. And I can just imagine all of you dressed up in your fancy hats for an occassional outing. I’m jealous! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your sister’s post!

    • Don’t tell my mum, but I also enjoy herbal tea on occasion 🙂 We definitely enjoy our time out and spend most of the time laughing while we drink our tea. It is a wonderful way to bond as a family.

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