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.