Although we moved into our new home in January, I'm still finding unpacked items around the house.
While cleaning the dining room the other day, I stumbled into a unique find: My Grandma Iva's tea strainer. The little silver ball has seen some better days, with several dents in it and a bent handle. I imagine many people would see it as trash and it would become part of the disposable world.
But, for me, it's a symbol of a simpler time. Needless to say, it's not going anywhere near a trash can.
Experiencing teatime, bonding with family and friends over a cup of soothing tea and a light snack, was the way many people ended their workday several years ago. Some added milk or a "nip" or two, but it wasn't that way for my grandmother.
Grandma Iva enjoyed her tea plain, not even a pinch of sugar.
When she made Sassafras tea, it was incredible! The tea, which hinted at the flavor of root beer, was relaxing and the aroma filled the house. It is one of my most favorite memories as a child.
My grandmother also used making tea and that little tea strainer to teach life-lessons.
"No matter how bad things look," she'd say when she would put the "ugly concoction" of loose tealeaves in the ball and sink it in the hot water. "If you have patience enough to let things simmer for a while, you will usually find the end result can be pleasurable."
Even boiling the water was a time to learn about life.
"A watched pot won't boil. The water does, and then only in it's own time," she'd say. "Just because you want something now, doesn't mean you need it now. Be patient, and give it some time."
Does life have to always be on the run?
Teabags were also important.
"Sure, it's a simple and quick way to make tea," she'd grin. "But, just because it's wrapped up in a cute little package, doesn't mean it's the best. You lose something in the experience when you rush to get things done."
Does something so simple as steeping tea in hot water for a minute really need to be sped up?
Taking the time to steep the tealeaves is also valuable.
"At some point, humanity is going to make things too easy and then no one will appreciate the quiet and precious moments of life, and family," she would say while placing cookies or sandwiches on the table. We would chat or play board games while drinking tea for then next half hour.
While my Grandma Iva enjoyed the social aspect of drinking hot tea, medical researchers are finding potential healing powers in this ancient beverage.
Recent research, for instance, suggests drinking tea may help prevent everything from cavities to Parkinson's disease and potentially may even save lives.
That little tea strainer I found wrapped in a paper towel, hiding inside the back of a drawer of the China cabinet isn't going anywhere soon.
I hope you are able to take the time and enjoy a hot cup of tea with someone you love this week. I apologize for not writing a blog sooner, but I didn't think about sitting down for a cup of hot tea and relaxing with friends and family for a while.