Kim in Baltimore feeling like old man winter’s not quite finished with her yet.
“I like coffee, I like tea.
I like the boys and the boys like me.”
My grandmother sang that little tune every morning to me when I was a child. Back then I didn’t care much for boys, but I did enjoy my coffee and tea. At our house, we drank tea in the morning. Nana, as we called my grandmother, would make tea to drink with our breakfast. Pop-Pop would pour mine in the saucer to cool.
Nana was the head dietician at McCormick’s, which at the time was located a few blocks from our house near the harbor. Most of the women in my family worked there. Every weekday morning Mr. Beecher would come by in his yellow cab to drive Nana to work as he had done since she started at McCormick’s in 1945.
Occasionally Nana would invite Mom and me to the Tea Room. It was a beautiful place on the first floor of the building and was decorated in Colonial period furnishings. It was a treat not only to have tea in the special room, but to visit my Aunties as well. My favorite thing was to ride the elevator with my Aunt Betty, who was the operator at the time.
Eventually Nana retired and McCormick’s closed its Baltimore location and moved out to Hunt Valley. Aunt Betty, who had worked her way up to the mailroom, moved to Hunt Valley with the company. Once I had my driver’s license I would meet her and have tea. They now saved the Tea Room for formal meetings and it was treated more as a museum than a tea room.
One of Nana’s prized possessions was a teapot she was given for her twenty fifth anniversary with the company. It sat on the hutch in the kitchen for years and now sits in my own kitchen along with several other McCormick’s teapots. They have become my most prized possessions, a tiny piece of my childhood I can still hold.
It came to my attention recently that these teapots are much in demand. People all over are searching for certain colors and the ones that include the tea basket go for a high price. I will never give mine up. I still use them,the last time being the Agatha Christie themed tea I served my book club.
On these last few chilly days, when winter is demanding to fulfill its contract, it is nice to curl up by the fireplace with a warm cup of tea. I no longer have anyone to pour the piping hot liquid in my saucer to cool, nor do I drown it in sugar and milk, but having the fragrant steam rise from the cup takes me back to long ago. It brings me home.
Gentle reader, what daily ritual have you carried from childhood to adulthood?