Thinking about a nice cup of tea brings me back to my girlhood; back to my mother’s kitchen. While sitting at her kitchen table, Mom would pour us both each a cup of tea. I can still remember the aroma emanating from my teacup. It was during those mother and daughter moments, when Mom and I would talk about the great expectations we had from life.
Just as if I was a grown-up, Mom would take me with her to visit at Dad’s mother’s house. Grandmother assembled ‘the close-ones’, as she would call them. There, at her kitchen table, the women folk would talk about ‘women stuff’. the women, as in Mom’s old school friends, my aunts and their daughters. Amongst ourselves, we could talk about just anything under the sun.
There, with the ‘close-ones, I was welcomed to add my two-cents worth to theirs. Our favorite topics of conversations where our family life, to have babies that year or not. It was with them, during those most interesting of conversations, my most precious memories took life.
Memories such as watching the Great-aunt boil-up a kettle of hot water for the teapot. This is when Mom never failed to tell me: “Great-aunt believes in these things”. After Mom’s required tidbits about grandmother’s sister-in-law, Great-aunt’s only comment to what my mother had just told me about her, was: “but, I prepare the tea with love!”. And indeed, once Great-aunt had finished preparing her tea – with love, she would gracefully serve a cup to each one of us women.
Of course, she would always remind us about good and proper tea etiquette. “There is a way to drink tea”…, would explain Great-aunt. “Turn the cup round three times, and then tip it over on to its saucer”…
One after the other, we each had to tell Great-aunt (while there was still some tea left in our cup to sip on), what we wanted to make the tea leaves do for us. The first one of us to tip-over her cup on to its saucer, would be the first to have the old aunt read what the leaves had to say specially for her intention. One after the other, Dad’s aging aunt would tell us what she saw in our leaves.
Of course, there was always one of us who would grab the others cup from auntie’s hands, and join her in the reading. That is how we all learned to read the tea leaves; by discussing and debating their meaning, and by observing the predicted outcome as it actually happened weeks or months later. Before anything did actually happen to any one of us women, we would already expect it. We had foretold each others chance at happiness with a husband, and which one would have a newborn baby that year – or not.
Being that I was still too young for marriage and children, ‘the close-ones’ would take turns predicting my future. Would I fall in love or not; what kind of young man would marry me; and even how many children I would actually have or not… No matter, what fond memories I brought with me into my old age. I have fond memories of pleasant discussions with my close-ones while sipping on a nice cup of tea!