As I contemplated writing this, a hot cup of Tetley tea steamed beside me in one of my numerous mugs—this one squat, round, and bearing the word “Mom” on its side. Let it be said that I LOVE TEA!
And not any tea … no, I stock my shelves with Tetley Teas: regular black, decaf black, and my new favorite, black/green tea. I also keep Boston Mint-in-Tea on hand for those times when either my tummy wants the soothing of the mint or my spirit needs the comfort of the mint vapors (did that long before the fad of fragrant oils for health).
My cupboards … and storage areas … abound with mugs of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some have sayings such as, “I NEED CHOCOLATE!” Others have cute characters from Winnie the Pooh® and Peanuts®. Many have animals, flowers, and birds. Some are handpainted by our daughters, including one with a pinecone hanging on pine branches, compliments of our eldest daughter’s knowledge of my love and her animosity for pinecones. A ceramic travel-mug, paint by a different daughter with Christmas designs, I of course use year-round. And don’t let me get started on Christmas mugs; that’s another storage-shed’s worth!
As with coffee, tea brings memories of people, and yes, as with my post on coffee, I think of my grandmother, though she wasn’t a tea drinker. Those memories come from her love for china teacups. Her collection came to me when she joined Jesus, and I use them with care.
“What other people fill those memories?” you ask. Two of them probably had stock in the Tetley tea company … or should have had with the vast amounts of tea they guzzled throughout their lives. My dad drank two cups every day before he left for work. If at home, my mom made multiple pots for him, boiled dark and strong in our Corningware teapot, the one with the sweet blue cornflower on its bright white bowl. He took several teaspoons of sugar and a deluge of milk in it, enough so that the dark liquid turned a milky tan color. In fact, that’s how I learned to drink it and did so for years until I decided to cut the sugar back, then the milk, until now, my tea needs just a tad of milk, no sugar, please. And I only drink one cup that high in caffeine a day.
Not so my aunt! Before she went to heaven, she had graduated from the normal-sized teapot to an extra-large tea-urn! It still had the required cornflower on its full belly and made a copious amount of tea. And where my dad boiled his until it turned dark, my aunt boiled hers until the cows came home … and went back out the next morning! Strong doesn’t begin to describe it. And get this! She refilled that pot at least three or four times a day! She loved that Tetley tea.
Oh yes, it had to be Tetley, the “tiny little tea leaf” tea. Strong enough to suit even the British (maybe?), though the company did come out with a British blend. However, speaking of the company, we—our daughters and I—have a bone to pick with them. Why did they stop dividing the rows of teabags in their boxes with the bookmarks?!
“Bookmarks?” you wonder. Ah, yes, the white rectangular pieces of cardboard between the four rows of 25 teabags each, just perfect for making into bookmarks. Another memory of my aunt is the many letters arriving by mail into which she slid several of those bookmarks-read-to-be-made for our girls. Or the visits during which she’d pull out a rubber-banded stack of them (remember, she drank a LOT of tea). The girls would use stickers, markers, and other craft supplies to design the bookmarks. The photo shows two I still have stuck in with my Christmas book collection.
Today, the boxes contain no bookmarks, sad to say. Where are we to find them? Well, guess what? Today, I discovered one! No, not in my Tetley box, but in the boxed version of Boston Mint-in-Tea. Nestled between the bags … ah, what wonder, what joy! A bookmark just waiting to be decorated for … hmm, for me? For our daughter who loved making them for me? Or maybe for a young grandchild, just learning about chapter books?
See what I mean? Tea makes me think of people. And I feel God would be pleased at that. He made tea leaves, tiny or otherwise, for our enjoyment. And He made the people in my life for me to love and enjoy … past, present, and future. May your tea-drinking years bring many times of refreshment and joy with the people you most love.
Speaking of those people and drinking tea, what stories do you have about tea? What brand did your family drink most? What flavors do you like in the wide array of them on the grocery store shelves and the cafés around the world? Share your stories with us!