The Fragrance of Home

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This morning I  poured myself a cup of tea — well, actually, it was a mug rather than a cup — and that’s what made the difference. This mug was very deep, and when I picked it up to take a drink, the aroma of the freshly brewed tea wafted up and into my nostrils, but then swept over me completely with memories almost as fresh as the tea itself.

Back when I was a child, then a teenager, than a very young adult, my family always worked together in the kitchen. Cooking, eating, and even cleaning up were activities that bonded us together, and gave us lovely opportunities to share events in our lives as well as our hopes and dreams — and our fears. My sister and I were able to talk with our parents about any topic under the sun, and there was never a problem we didn’t find help for in their love and wisdom. We were truly blessed.

But during those years, there were some events that seemed to lodge themselves into my soul more than others, and each one of them represents something special about my relationship with my family. One of those unique events was the preparing of the tea for our evening meals. During warm weather especially — and sometimes at other times of the year — we always had iced tea as our main drink at our evening meal. Mom would boil the water on the stove and then brew the tea (according to the Americanized custom, using tea bags) to just the right consistency so that when we poured it into the pitcher, we then added an equal amount of fresh water, and the strength and the color of the tea were perfect for pouring over ice.

However, before we poured in the extra water, we scooped in the sugar. Now, I have to tell you that I’m old enough that this project was carried on back in the day before everyone and his brother had gone crazy trying to stay away from ordinary staples like butter, eggs, and good old granulated sugar. So we always scooped in a hefty amount of that good old granulated sugar and stirred happily. By adding it before the extra water, the sugar melted very quickly and united thoroughly with the tea so that there was no residue left in the bottom of the pitcher.

During this whole exercise, the most prominent characteristic of the process was the rich aroma of that tea — as we stirred in the sugar, then added more water, and stirred some more. There was something so sweet and satisfying about that fragrance, and it has stayed with me all these many decades since. And every once in a while — just every once in a while — when I’m having just a cup of tea — the various elements of the moment — the temperature of the tea, the movement of the air, the strength of the brew, the position of the cup — whatever it is that makes the difference at the time — but just once in while, I get that aroma rising up and meeting me once again, and I am instantly taken back home.

My family lived in four different towns during my growing up years, and in about six different houses, but home was still always the same place: it was wherever my mom, dad, sister, and I were together. The name of the town or the street made no difference. It was the fact that we were together, sharing all the wonderful aspects of our lives — brewing the tea and enjoying its rich aroma — knowing that even when there were some problems facing us, we had each other and the safety of our love for one another.

So every time I smell that special sweet aroma of my tea (even though I do have it without sugar today), I am swept back to those days. I find myself in the kitchen with my mom, standing beside the cabinet, stirring the tea, and enjoying the happy aroma of a home filled with love.

~~~

Friday Fictioneers – 6/6/14 — ‘Home’

 

Friday Fictioneers, here I come again. Now, the rest of you can sit around with Doug with your feet propped up if you want to, but I’m going exploring for an ancient city. Anybody else who would like to try your hand at creating a 100-word story based on the unique picture below – Douglas M. MacIlroy’s picture, by the way – hop over to the FF home place and check out the details of how and why.  (Also, hop over to Doug’s site and check out his header: amazing — mesmerizing — see for yourself!)  

My story’s below the photo.

DOUGLAS M. MACILROY'S FEET PHOTO

 

HOME

The aged archaeologist sat gazing into the fire, owning contentment for the first time in his 85 years.

He journaled these words: “At age 15, I sat in a classroom gazing at a tablet. Suddenly, it disappeared, and in its place, as through a window, I saw a mountain.  I knew it, yet I didn’t.  But I knew I’d find the ancient city – this city — carved inside.

I was born here, but can’t remember how or why I left. I only know it’s beckoned me in my dreams all my life, and I’ve searched the world for 70 years.

Finally – today – I am home.”

 

 

~

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Down’

I took this photo while riding with my sister as she took her very first flying lesson.  I went along, carrying my camera and two of hers, in order to document the event for posterity. Although flying in large jets does not make me dizzy at all, flying in this tiny three-seater put my head on a merry-go-round. The only time I could keep it settled was when I looked down, so I concentrated on taking a lot of pictures of the ground. This photo is my favorite.  It is a section of my home town, and when I enlarge it, I can actually pick out my house.