Monday, September 13, 2010

Tea Time

The sharp whistle from my tea kettle sends me such sweet memories.

I grew up on tea. Of course, as a child it was iced, sweet tea. My mother makes the best sun tea and seeing an amber pitcher warming on a summer day reminds me of my childhood. My Grandma McGuffin also mastered the art of a perfect glass of sweet tea. She had a glass pitcher that only made two quarts at a time. I'm not sure why she never bought a larger container, as we'd drink tea at her house all day long. Maybe she liked steeping the tea at just the right moment, measuring out the delicious combination of sugar and water and watching us enjoy a wonderful refreshment of liquid honey.

As I grew older, my taste buds appreciated a hot cup of tea. I'm sure a steamy cup of tea is relaxing to anyone but having that warm liquid comfort my throat reminds me of time with my other grandmother, Virginia. When I was enrolled in college, and working there as well, I would spend my free time at my grandparent's house. Grandma would cook me lunch and supper too, if I had an evening class, as they lived just down the street from school. After Grandpa Henry passed away, I was grateful our tradition continued, as it allowed me to check in on her daily. At some point, we began having tea. I think Grandma was given a set of different types as a gift and we looked forward to trying new varieties each day. I will forever treasure our "tea for two" afternoons that we shared and each time I treat myself to a cup, I am reminded of her and our talks.

My tea kettle holds extremely precious memories for another reason too. It is my last present from Austin. He had overheard me mention how I wanted a silver tea kettle with a whistle. He saved up his own money and bought it for me for Mother's Day in 2008. Before he passed, it had special meaning because it was touching that as a teenager he would pay that close of attention to his mom and spend his own money on me. Since our loss, the kettle reminds me of my sweet boy and his love for me. Each time the whistle sings, letting me know a soothing cup of tea is moments away, I am warmed from the inside out before the first taste. Each cup from that special kettle is like a hug from Austin.

Whether tea is served at my house hot or cold, I love having such fond memories from such a simple drink. Today, home in my pjs and trying to recover, it is such a comfort to be reminded of so many loved ones with each sip.

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