Once again the tea kettle is on the boil and the time has come to contemplate some of life’s deepest mysteries. Let’s see, I solved the mystery of how lint gets in my navel and the difference and similarity between “something” and “nothing.” What’s left?

How about the concepts of living “loud” vs. living “soft”?

First, ask yourself, do you live “loud” or “soft”? That is, are you open or reserved? In my youth, I must confess to bouts of “loudness.” However, as the years go by, my life gets “softer” and “softer.” Lately, I have taken to brewing up a strong cup of tea, finding a cozy corner, and sipping quietly. It might be the onset of old age, or perhaps having no children (who provide lots of exposure to youthful “loudness”).

Some people are reared to be “soft” and reserved and need the influence of others to “louden” them. The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” portrays such an “loudening” of the very restrained family of the groom by the gregarious lifestyle of the Greek family who had come to the U.S. for a better, freer life for their children. It’s definitely a movie to watch with a large cup of tea and a cozy throw across my lap while I sit on the reclining loveseat with my feet up. (Cloudy weather with a sprinkle of rain or two adds just the right atmosphere.)

One of the things that always strikes me about this movie every time I see it is the change in the groom’s family. They start out “soft” — very reserved and restrained, like “dry toast” as the Greek patriarch proclaims after first meeting them. By the wedding reception, they are “louder” — they had loosened up enough to readily down ouzo, join in the traditional Greek dancing, and even do a bit of kidding about the mix-up in the wife’s name (“Harry” instead of “Harriet”) on the wedding invitations.

We can all learn from this.

Life is serious but not funereal. We can be loud without being crass, especially if we include tea as part of that “loudness.” However, a little “softness”, as craved by the daughter in the movie, can be a very good thing. And tea can help there, too.

Here’s a formula for adding a bit of “soft” to your life with tea:

  • Select a “sipper” tea, one that calms with its smooth flavor, enticing yet not over-stimulating aroma, and just plain drinkability.
  • Designate a special place away from lots of noise and distraction.
  • Sip your tea from a delicate cup or mug, not something thick and clunky.

On the other hand, add a bit of “loud” to your teatime with these simple steps:

  • Go for a bold, robust tea that wakes up your tastebuds and your nostrils with its taste and aroma (in other words, a real “gulper” tea).
  • Pick a spot to enjoy this tea that’s full of “action.”
  • Don’t forget your “boom box” and a stack of loud CDs (we go for the Scottish piper band “The Wicked Tinkers”).
  • Drink the tea by hearty mouthfuls, no sipping here.

Whether you go “loud” or “soft” with your teatime, you’ll be doing tea your way. Kettle’s boiling. Time to steep. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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