Sunday, December 11, 2016

Linda Adair #9 When there was time for tea

Afternoon tea was 
a daily fact of life
after school
before 
homework 
or running out to play
SAOs with garden fresh tomatos 
and bitey cheese
Holiday treats included apple turnovers 
or sticky iced buns
well-earned rewards 
for a three-mile walk to
my relatives' house in the blazing heat 
with a mother who did not drive 
in suburbs where buses 
did not run outside school days.

Afternoon tea was 
a kind of secret women's business
men were seldom present
my mother, her sister, her mother
discussed issues large and small
drinking hot sweet tea from
sometimes worn 
but always fine 
china cups and saucers.
Nanna always used her
silver napkin rings for her
starched, embroidered
Irish linen napkin. 
Even if the milk was powdered, 
there was a fierce
dignity of presentation
keeping up appearances.

Sometimes, I would take a tray 
laden with biscuits, cake and strong black tea 
to Grandfather who sat in peace and quiet 
in the front room and smiled and 
thanked me, formally, 
ever the soldier
Returning to the kitchen,  
I would eat cake, drink very milky weak tea, 
and above all, listen
to what the grown ups had to say:
how they said it,
what they left unsaid
knowing their stories were central to my own,


7 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I think Winnie the Pooh did that best;)

      Delete
  2. Very evocative. Yes, those afternoon conversations played. acrucial role fr so many women.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have really captured wonderful things here Linda - the dignity of presentation, the listening that you as a child know is so important, thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah appreciate the good feedback!

      Delete
  4. you've brought back memories Linda

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.