When I was a little girl I could walk out my backdoor, quick-step barefoot across the hot desert sand and visit my grandparents who lived around the corner from us. A row of cypress trees separated our yards, a gap in the trees providing a shady spot to cool my feet before running the rest of the way to their back porch. If I got there early enough I could have a cup of hot tea with Grandma. Sitting at the gray formica table, I’d sip Lipton tea from a Melmac cup and saucer. I’ve loved the sweet and milky brew since toddlerhood.
My cousin, Sue, lived next door. The two of us spent the bulk of our childhood together, usually “playing house” in our grandparents’ den. We also spent many a night together there, whispering and giggling under the soft, Downy-scented sheets in the guest room.
When we crawled out of bed in the morning Grandma would fix us each a cup of tea and tell us to “soak awhile”. I’ve scoured the internet for any mention of this saying but without success. We understood it to mean “sit quietly for a bit” but I have no idea where she got the phrase. I wish I had thought to ask her. Maybe her mother had said it to her and her many siblings when she was a little girl. Grandma’s parents were Irish and Dutch so perhaps the saying comes from one of those languages. Whatever the origins, I remember with fondness the many mornings I “soaked awhile” at Grandma’s house, a cup of tea in hand.
In recent weeks I’ve changed up my morning routine. Instead of heading straight for the computer at my desk I now start my morning in our library/music room. David makes hot tea in an insulated Klean Kanteen for me every morning then puts it and a china cup and saucer on the little table by my chair. Lured by the promise of Earl Grey I slip downstairs in my robe, curl up under a cosy afghan and just soak awhile.