When all is not well in my world all I really crave is a hot cup of tea with a whole lot of sugar to make my life a little sweeter. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was trying to recover from being on my feet all day Sunday preparing and then enjoying Joey’s birthday party. In all the work and fun my cast had rubbed my heel and the back of my calf in the wrong way and just the slightest movement made me feel like my whole leg was on fire so what did I do like any good woman would do, I took to my bed with a pot of hot, sweet chamomile tea and the book I was reading (Honeymoon with my Brother – an awesome read by the way for those of you who love travel and relationships) and immediately started to feel better, at least emotionally.
Every time I sit down to really enjoy a cup of tea it brings back all these wonderful childhood memories of my Grandma Queenie. She was Australian and loved her tea and passed that passion along to me at a very young age. Granted the initial tea I got was more milk than tea but she always served it to me and my friends in a china cup and saucer with a treat on the side. While we were at school she’d be baking away in the kitchen making our house smell like a home and we never knew what delectable morsel we’d be enjoying when we got home but we knew we’d be enjoying something. She baked everything with precision and love and from scratch. To this day I don’t think I’ve ever had cream puffs as light and fluffy as hers topped off with just the right sprinkling of powdered sugar that would stick to your lips and make you look like the ladies in the magazines with their frosted lipstick. And don’t even get me started on her homemade apple squares. I have all her boxes of recipes and do you think I can find one for that – nope, just like her rice buddah recipe it was all kept up in her head. Luckily I’ve managed to collect notes and copies from the parents of my childhood friends so I can at least try to attempt to recreate her tasty creations.
It seemed like no matter what was happening to me, a broken heart, a sprained ankle, or an argument with my best friend Dawn that all I needed to remedy it was a little cup of tea with my Grandma. Or if there was something to celebrate like a 100% on a test or winning Best Sense of Humor in 8th grade we did it with a little cup of tea. If it were my girlfriends birthdays we’d have tea and a special treat made with just them in mind. As I got older I realized just how lucky I was to enjoy those mid-afternoon tea parties with my friends, with my Grandma, with my Mother. A lot of who I am today was formed around our kitchen table and my long conversations with Grandma. Upon reflection I also realize that the size of the cup she bestowed me with was a sign of how grown up she thought I had become. Starting out with doll size tea cups and eventually working my way up to fine porcelain that was so thin you could practically read a newspaper through it. Even on her passing tea was uppermost in my mind. When I was asked what I would like as a keepsake of hers I requested the two child size cups that Dawn and I used to drink out of the most when we were in 2nd grade which I’ve now passed along to my niece Sarah, two of the porcelain ones that had colorful trees on them and her pressed glass amber beads that I’d like to wear when we were having a “proper” tea.
Nowadays I have all tea and no milk (though I still like to make it really sweet) and as the fragrance wafts up at me it automatically makes me smile no matter what is going on in the world around me. To me a little cup of tea is a whole lot of love handed down through the generations. Lucky for me I have my own little guy to pass that love along to and like his Momma he likes to have his great-grandma’s version of children’s tea too.