Mrs Early Grey

That’s me…

I love tea.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of coffee too.

Nothing like the aroma of freshly ground coffee. For the last three months, it is the wonderful smell of coffee that greets me and my nose as I walk into the hospital to visit my daughter in law.

A damn side better than antiseptic.

The cafe knows its stuff, and I have fallen into the habit of quaffing a tall cappachino there. Recharging my batteries; I call it! It works and gives me the burst of energy, I need, to keep up with the never ending supply of energy, my grandson seems to have without the aid of coffee.

Tea is different. Tea is ceremony. Tea is soothing. Tea is quiet and calming. A deep breath. A pause. A sip.

A while back my 89 year old mother fell and broke her hip. She was frail, scared, grouchy and had retreated into the familiarity of her mother tongue, French.

This meant that while she was in hospital, she needed us to be there too. The hospital was quite a distance from our home so we would arrive in the morning and leave late at night.

The hospital cafe became a lifeline. A little oasis. Three meals a day kind of life line.

Dealing with an older person in pain can require a lot of love, endurance and patience. Especially when that person is your mother who still sees you as a 6 year old and incapable of making decisions. Your mother who demands you to check in first with your younger brother, who as the male of the household, is in your mother’s eyes, THE ONE WHO MUST BE OBEYED!

This was and still is a huge source of amusement and irritation to my sister and I. We simply phone my brother and tell him what we need. He dutifuly listens to his older sisters, then phones my mother and passes on the idea as if it was his own.

My mother, after days of fighting with us girls and refusing to listen, will meekly and happily say to my brother “Oh of course, that makes sense, thank you for suggesting that my boy!”

She will then put down the phone and announce “Your brother said I should do this. It is a wonderful idea, I don’t know why you girls didn’t ask him in the first place!!

Like I said patience….

And lots and lots of calming, soothing, breathing tea…

Earl Grey Tea

I drank so many cups of Earl Grey Tea at the hospital cafe, that I became synonomous with it. As I approached the cafe, I would be greeted with “Sauwobona (hello) Mrs Early Grey!”

For some reason they called it Early Grey (english was not their mother tongue either). Such was the warmth of their greeting, attitude and care, I never felt the need to correct them.

Within a few minutes (without words or request) a pot of steaming hot Early Grey tea, accompanied by a little jug of milk, would be placed in front of me with a beautiful smile and a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.

It seems there is a lot of Zulu wisdom and laughter to be shared about Mamas…..

Wounds heal and time marches on and people move forward.

A whole year later, my Mom had an appointment with a doctor who had rooms at the same hospital.

I was blown away when I sat down at the cafe to wait for Mom, and a steaming pot of Early Grey Tea arrived at the table accompanied by a smile and a pat on the shoulder “Mrs Early Grey! So long we haven’t seen you!”

I’ll say it again…

I love tea

Early Grey Tea

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