Tea (and Fond Memories) for Me
I suppose one reason I drink tea is because I hung out with my Dad a lot while I was growing up and he was an inveterate tea drinker: Two cups in the morning, a cup with lunch, a cup in mid-afternoon, and another before bed. He was serious about his tea. Perhaps it was because he really didn’t drink much of anything else.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. My Dad was a simple man; he didn’t go for the whole loose tea leaves and a straining spoon ritual. Oh no. He was a bag man, a Lipton man. I learned from him that Lipton tea is the heartiest tea bag going. Pour boiling water on one of those bags and within a brief minute, maybe two you have a rich, full-bodied cuppa.
When I was young and my Dad was a lot thinner, he put two heaping spoons of sugar in the bottom of his cup, added the tea bag and the boiling water; after it had steeped a bit, he added condensed, sweetened canned milk. It was a thick rich mix, for sure. And one that appealed to little girl me.
As I got older and Dad put on weight he never stopped drinking tea, but he did modify the extras he put into his many daily cups. He switched from sweetened condensed milk to regular milk when I was in high school; and he switched from regular milk to 2 percent after I graduated college. Somewhere along the way he eliminated the sugar too.
I rolled with all his modifications until Dad began making his tea in the microwave. I drew the line. He’d plop a tea bag into a cup of cold water and pop it into the microwave to heat. I hated the foam that formed on top of the microwaved tea and I swore the tea tasted “off.” Blech.
Dad would laugh at me, telling me it was quicker and that microwaved tea was just as tasty as boiled water tea. That said, when I visited and wanted a cup of tea, he always waited patiently while I got out the old teakettle, filled it with cold water, put it on the stove, boiled the water and added it to my cup and teabag, the old-fashioned way. I loved sitting with him, visiting and drinking a cup of tea at the crowded kitchen table.
My Dad is gone now, but every morning as I wait for my tea water to boil I think of him. As I stare out my kitchen window, hot teacup cradled in my hands, I think of him.
Tea. Do you drink it? And why? Share a story!