My Tea Love Story
Ya know, I didn't come upon tea by happenstance. I've been a lifelong tea drinker, and I have my great grandmother (Hattie Smith) to thank for it. She was a mystery, wrapped in an enigma to me and I loved her dearly. For one, she was the oldest person I knew at the time. As a young child, for someone to tell you they are 90 years old is just astonishing. Yet, she was as sharp as a tack and when there was work to be done, after we all collapsed with exhaustion, she was the last one standing.
Ask her how she felt, she would proclaim, "with my hands Brandon, I feel with my hands."
Making her more mysterious were the stories she told about a time and a place (her childhood) that was so foreign to me it seemed unreal. She would sometimes say to me,
"Imagine Brandon, when I was your age, we didn't have TV, we didn't even own a radio."
I couldn't even imagine a world without Nintendo let alone one without TV. Then there was tea. While everyone around me had Folgers in their cup, hers was filled with tea. Tea wasn't just for sick sipping (drinking when you're not feeling well), tea was just what you drank. I can remember sitting in her kitchen watching her prepare tea for the two us. She did it with such love and care. I always thought, "this can't be for me....when is company coming over?" I can't even say that I particularly cared for tea as a kid. In fact, I always thought to myself,
"why is she making tea for me…I'm a boy….boys don't drink tea!"
There were no rules about how it was to be prepared or served. No pomp and circumstance, just water, tea (a little milk and sugar if that is what you liked) and love. There was nothing special about the tea she served, no fancy oolong or artisanal pastries, just a tea bag and a slice of peach cobbler. I always felt special in those moments alone with her. While the water slowly came to a boil on her old gas stove, she would inquire about my day, about school and if I was behaving. She would tell me how big I had gotten since she last saw me (even if it where just the day before). She would hug and kiss me saying she, "needed her sugar for the day!"
"She started my love affair with tea. Her simple act of love and service was the seed that sparked a deep fire within me. One that I never consciously acknowledged until starting Vintage TeaWorks."
There was and still remains something special, authentic and simple in those moments. The moments before life became complicated by work, bills, obligations and stuff. However, in 2014, I've committed to acting like that kid sometimes, laughing like that little boy and stealing moments to pour some tea and have a slice of pie.
Will you commit to laughing over a cup of tea this week? If so, let me know in the comments below.
Brandon Ford - Chief TeaMaker