"the nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Savouring the moment...

...as I put the finishing touches on my dining room make-over, yay, and return my mother's tea cups, all clean and sparkly, to the China cabinet which belonged to her I am transported to another place in time.   A time when she was here and I was young and life seemed so easy.

My mother was English and Irish and loved her tea.  As far as I know it was what she sipped with every meal growing up and before bed.  They rarely had milk delivery so she probably had a dash of cream and a little sugar in it.  The English way.  As a child I remember drinking tea every morning.  There were other things to choose from but I always, every day, had toast and tea.  Tea with cream and sugar.  The English/Irish in me.  As I grew older I continued the toast and tea tradition but drank other beverages during the day such as milk.  Then came the days of diet soda, specifically Tab.  Oh my, I drank Tab as if the world was about to end but always kept my morning routine of toast and tea.   As time moved on for my mother she gave up her precious tea for coffee.  Instant coffee.  I guess the need for a jolt of coffee outweighed the need for a cuppa.

When I left home for college and marriage my tea drinking waned in favour of espresso coffee.  Much easier to grab a jolt during studying or work than to savour a cup of tea.  Soon it became relegated to the 'sick room.'  Have a cold?  a headache?  a stomach-ache?  what you need then is a nice cup of hot tea, with cream and sugar.  Eventually I went through an organic phase and the sugar was replaced by honey.  But I never really gave up the need for a cup of hot tea.  (never iced. never)  My mother on the other hand found that warm milk at bedtime could do wonderful things for a restful sleep, she rarely had tea again.

I've always desired to take my mother out for "High Tea," and made plans to do so when we traveled to New York for my brother's wedding.  We never went, no traveling, no visiting, no tea-party...as I lost her just days before.  Two years ago I found a place in our little town that serves High Tea and decided that I would take my daughter.  I tried to tell her how important it was to me, how much I had hoped to do this with my mother, how very special it was to share with her.  It was wonderful, and beautiful and especially fancy with tiny tea cakes and sweet treats, and of course TEA.  with cream and honey.  It was lovely and I hope that one day she will understand what it meant to me.

So here I stand, holding the cups my mother drank from and collected, holding her memory tight in my hand and my heart.   Missing her more than mere words can say.  And as my mind floats to another place I will put the kettle on, brew myself a nice cuppa hot tea, with cream and honey.  I will find a nice cozy place to sit by the window and as I sit and sip my cuppa I will watch the rain and my tears softly falling to the ground.


  1. What a wonderful, poignant, moving post, Joanne. You really have a poet's soul. I am so sorry you never got to experience that high tea with your mother but I am glad you got to do it with your daughter. She won't "get it" until she is older and fully understands how much those "ties" that bind us to another generation mean. One day she will understand and be so glad that she took high tea with you.

    I drank coffee even as a little girl. My gramma would give me a cup of milk and add a splash of coffee to it so I could drink coffee with her. I blame her absolutely for my addiction(s) as she added about a tablespoon of sugar and I seem to be addicted to THAT, too. However, today I DO drink my coffee HOT and BLACK. I don't like iced coffee at all.. lol xo Diana

  2. Joanne ~ you can't imagine the timing of your post and how exacting it's words reverberating in my heart! I saw your sweet comment on my blog, Jo, and came to say thank you. Possibly you can tell the absence on my blog and the sadness I'm eluding to? I just lost my Mum one month ago. She too was English. While tea was not a ritual with her, this is exactly what we will be doing for her life celebration. We will be serving sweets and tea, or toast with champagne. She & I never visited England together... many other destinations instead. But, I have been lucky enough to have had high tea there, and locally too. A time of celebration with girlfriends for my Birthday in San Francisco - a particularly lovely tea. I have tears in my eyes for both yourself and me. Your teacups remind me to pull mine out and make them shiny-bright for the celebration of life. I have to re-read your post again, and commit it to memory. Without knowing it - you have touched someone's soul! I thank you, Jo!
    ~ Shari

  3. What a beautiful post, and what beautiful tea cups! I've never been much of a tea drinker, but when I'm sick, I will drink it. I usually have just one cup of coffee with cinnamon vanilla creamer, and that takes care of my need. I drink water the rest of the day. I would have been my step-mom's 87th b'dy today, and I've been think of her, so much. I miss her!

  4. Such a beautiful post to read this morning Joanne. Your memories of your mother are so lovely and poignant. I could feel your love for her while I read this. Isn't it wonderful to have her cups that bring all these memories to mind whenever you see them?
    Much love to you sweet friend...

  5. Lovely and evocative, Joanne. Our past is such a part of who we are. Love seems timeless when I read words like yours.

  6. Those beautiful cups reflect the beautiful memories and love you have for your Mother. I enjoy a cup of herb tea almost every day. It's nice to have a special time to sit and reflect on the things in life that brought us happiness. Your post was filled with love along with those sweet tears. I hope you enjoy many more "tea time" moments.

  7. So beautifully "poured out" for us to read . . . and remember our own tea-time memories. Thank you for such a lovely post.

  8. I am in love with these cups! And the way you shared their story. Love you.

  9. A precious and fragrant post...love transcends the shared time, doesn't it?


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