Most of the people I first met in Florida were fellow dog owners in our Apartment complex. The dogs gave us a common interest and reason for conversation. A few of those women have become more than just a fellow dog owner. I am thankful and know that as we get ready to finish the home buying adventure this week, I will miss seeing them daily. On one occasion my neighbor Cheryl and I realized we both grew up with Tea Time. After school or between 3-4 pm, the tea-pot and cookies came out. Black tea in a favorite mug with milk and sugar was and still is my favorite.
I decided to ask Mother Mary about this topic in my interview and the answer went down a lane I didn’t expect. Enjoy:
Q: Tell me about tea time origination?
“It’s from the time of Adam and Eve I am sure….I remember it with Grandpa and Grandma Mouw, (MM’s Grandparents also called pa/ma) we always had tea time in afternoon. There was catechism after school then we might walk to pa and ma….they would stop the earthquake for tea time. It was around 3:00 in the afternoon.
I guess tea time was part of family routine. Grandpa (my Grandpa – Mother Mary’s father), he had breakfast at home, then we brought “lunch” to him in the field at 9/9:30. Lunch was a sandwich with cookies or cake carried in a gallon size Karo syrup tin bucket. There would be another tin bucket, 1/2 gallon size, that had coffee in the morning and tea milk in the afternoon.
One of us girls (there were 5 girls, no boys) would walk to the field and find Grandpa. Geri (the youngest) LOVED it. Grandpa would be watching and go to the end of the row, park the tractor so they could sit in the shade , leaning against the big wheel, and eat together. Usually just one of us got to go. And there was always a dog that went along. (me: I love that). He would come in for dinner at noon. It was a big meal, meat and potatoes or casserole. Lunch would happen again at 3:30, same routine as the morning. Supper was a lighter meal, but plenty believe me. Grandpa came home from the field, did chores and then ate supper.
Quite often before bed we would have another snack. “
Me: “You ate a lot. ”
MM: “Yes, we worked hard”
“Harvesters…as they moved from place to place, my mother would cook those meals for all those men. We helped. In the morning we would catch chickens, pluck and fry them, go to the garden get veggies, bake pies, cookies/cake. Sometimes other wives would come and help. That was hard work. We would do a few days in a row usually for 10-15 men. The men were harvesting oats. They would cut, bundle, put them in shocks. One man owned a threshing machine. He would run the machine on your property – all would work together to bring in the shocks and put them into the machine. The oats would run down into a wagon. The wagon of oats would go in the granary on the farm. This was for livestock not for breakfast oatmeal. Just wanna be clear. ( I needed the clarity…I did not grow up on the farm. And if I did, I would have run and hidden the chickens). When they were done they would go on to the next place.
By the way, Grandpa was thin, and he ate lots of butter, cookies, cake, pie, potatoes, lots of meat, but he worked hard. We had our own meat – never bought it. So a hotdog was a rare treat. I still like them, got to be a good one though. All this junk you can put on them – No No – just a bit of relish, mustard, chopped onion and plenty of ketchup.
And I just had to add this extra note because I found it sweet…the original make your own dog/cat food:
“There were always outside kitties. The kitties and the dog got table scraps Peelings from potatoes apples and such – went to the hogs. Kitties would get milk in the barn when Grandpa milked. I don’t think we ever bought dog food.”
Tea Time when I was growing up happened because MM was intentional about it. It was a part of her life as a girl, but she incorporated it as a mother because her children were hungry after school, needed a snack, so she would pour us tea. We would take a breath and tell her a thing or two about our day.
Thanks Mother Mary for Tea Time. Thanks for the history behind an ordinary, meaningful part of my life and yours. Would love to have a cup with you on your birthday today, with your favorite cookie out of the Cookie Book!