musings from an old rocking chair, on my front porch.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

China Tea Cups 

I am a lifelong tea drinker. I started out like most southerners do, drinking a glass of sweetened iced tea at dinner time...cold weather non-withstanding. Ice tea we always called it...somehow the past tense "-ed" morpheme was left out in the pronunciation. I remember traveling to Canada for a high school band competition and asking for "ice tea" with my meal. The waiter's response, "It's out of season." I was flabbergasted!

Somewhere in my pre-teen years I discovered "hot tea." I believe we called it "hot tea" to distinguish it from "ice tea." At any rate, I can remember an English co-worker of my father's wife offering us "hot tea" after dinner at her house one evening. It was some sort of apple cinnamon concoction and was made with lots of sugar and so was very sweet. I can remember that when I rounded my lips and sucked in my breath, I could still taste the tea on my tongue long after I had drunk it (drank--grammar queens help me out here).

I started at that time trying to mix my own hot tea concoctions starting with lipton iced tea bags and adding ginger, cinnamon and other spices to the tea...trying to create something exotic. I would bring the potions to my mother and ask her opinion. "Too much ginger," she might say and I'd be off to try again.

I continued my tea drinking habits through college. I discovered the wonders of "Earl Grey" (my all time favorite), "Constant Comment," "Lemon Lift," and any number of "Celestial Seasonings" brews. On my honeymoon to Williamsburg, VA, I discovered, "Lapsung Sachong" which smelled and tasted like a campfire to me. I have not found it's equal since my honeymoon. I drank chammomile and peppermint tea when I was pregnant and trying to calm a restless tummy. If I was out of fancy tea, plain old lipton would do for me with lots of sugar and milk. Tea tastes like a deep breath to me.

After I married, my brother in law, Jae, started gifting me with tea pots as he worked at "Gloria Jean's Coffee Company" and could get a discount on them. I have teapots shaped like roosters, cats. Several have met their demise including a duck shaped one...kids and teapots do not mix. He also has given me several tea sets. The first was a beautiful white, blue and yellow pattern which I loved...the cat knocked that one over. The second was a complete set with cups and tea plates with a pink and blue pattern...The teapot itself was knocked over by one of my kids and sits in pieces in our cabinet with me hoping it can be fixed...likely not. I had never even made tea in it. But the cups and saucers remain...

Normally, I drink tea from whatever coffee cup started out the morning. One morning I thought to myself, "It's a shame I never use those pretty tea cups and saucers." The thought went in and out and that was nearly the end of it...

The other evening we went to our church's Theophany service. Water is blessed for the purpose of blessing other stuff...That's kind of it in a nutshell although the theological meaning is much deeper than that. For some odd reason I thought of my aging parents and wondered what it was like to be in one's 50's...and thinking about how many years one has left...etc, etc. I don't know why this crossed my mind during that church service, but it did. And then I thought, how stupid...I could walk out of this church and be smashed by a car...just how many years do I think I have left...my life is not my own afer all. I managed to concentrate on the rest of the service...it was just a fleeting thought.

I installed our little jar of holy water next to my tea chest in a corner of my kitchen. I have a China Angel made in the Lenox factory my dad managed next to the chest. Yesterday evening, I washed out two of the china tea cups and saucers and the matching sugar bowl and placed them on top of the chest along with the "good sugar spoon" from our best flatware set. Life's too short not to enjoy good tea from a nice china cup after a long day. It had been a long day with a sick Ana...so chammomile was the order of the evening. I can't say the tea tasted any sweeter out of the china cup...but it did make the experience much more...I guess deeper is the word.

Life is short...go find your china tea cup!

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