The Tao of Tea

During brutal winter evenings, tea tends to set one straight. Oh sure, one can indulge in a dram or two of Glenfiddich, or a healing glass of fine red wine but sometimes, a cup of tea hits the proverbial spot.

Steeped, with a hint of sugar or perhaps a sprinkle of Splenda, the steaming vessel immediately beckons calm. Once swirled with a drop or two of milk, it allows a tired soul a chance to reclaim a semblance of self.

Lately have I indulged my spirit in this soporific substance, a warming beverage that induces peaceful slumber. A decaffeinated mug of tea during these wintry nocturnes can certainly elicit past memories of such splendid sleep.

As a wee lad living in the bucolic climes of Ridgefield, Connecticut, my siblings and I succumbed to the allure of tea and toast. Every Sunday we traveled to Flushing, NY, to visit our grandmother, where we stayed for the day, playing in foreign neighborhoods and, after washing up from our horseplay, we always ate a sumptuous supper that was laden upon a finely embroidered tablecloth.

I remember that tablecloth. We waited for our meal, perched in our chairs that barely allowed our heads to peer above the surface. And since my eyes were in such close proximity, I marveled at the intricacies of the hand-stitched cloth, amazed that someone actually spent countless hours laboring over such an exquisite fabric. (I was aghast one time when I inadvertently spilled a few drops of gravy, instantly sullying its spotless and perfect presence.)

But this post is about tea, isn’t it? I am getting to it, so do bear with me.

After said visit to my harried Grandma (I don’t blame her for quaffing a few Ballantines during our stay; maybe the Glenfiddich came later), we piled into our Cumby, or Volkswagen bus, and proceeded along the byways back to Ridgefield.

It was then upon our arrival, when darkled frigid skies greeted us, that we stumbled into the tiny kitchen, tired, cranky, and exhausted. There our Mum plied us with vats of tea and mountains of buttered toast. We sat bunched together, sipping the healing cups and devouring the warm offerings, always keeping an eye on seconds. Tea and toast. What a lovely memory!

In fact, I think that I’m going to put the kettle on right now…

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.


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