Tea and the Dishwasher

Just as smells and tastes evoke memories, so do certain activities — in this case the act of emptying clean dishes out of the dishwashing machine. Got a pot of tea, a yummy nibble, and a box of tissues handy? Good, then get ready for this tale.

This tale requires four steepings of Young Pu-erh (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
This tale requires four steepings of Young Pu-erh (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Whenever hubby and I visit friends, it usually involves a long-distance trip and a few nights giving their guest room a sense of purpose (other than sitting around empty or as storage space for extra clothes and the Christmas ornaments). This is mainly because our really close friends (in terms of philosophy of life) are physically distant. Our lives just sort of evolved that way. It means, of course, that we don’t get to see them as often as we would like, especially in recent years. We made a very special effort, though, one year to see a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer and his wife (who remains our friend today).

After our long, cross-country drive, we arrived at our friends’ house and were greeted by a big “Welcome!” sign. A great beginning to our visit. After hugs all round, we dumped our luggage in the guest room and commenced catching up on all the important events in each others’ lives.

Being a good houseguest is for us just natural. That means we helped with things like loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and helping put them away when they were clean. During one such time of pulling out the clean dishes and flatware, the topic came up of the best way to load forks, knives, and spoons into the special basket in the dishwasher. Our friend wanted to have all the forks together, all the knives together, and all the spoons together so that when clean they could be pulled out together and put away easier. I and our friend’s wife followed the manufacturer’s guide, which said to mix them up so that they would be less likely to stick together and therefore not get clean. Apparently, this very friendly housekeeping debate had been going on between them for some time and I was being used as the settler. Not knowing this until I’d already spoken up, there was no chance to be tactful. Oh, well, no feelings were hurt, and the rest of the visit went smoothly.

Ever since then, though, whenever hubby and I empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher, it reminds us of our friend, who lost his battle with cancer but remains close in our hearts.

A pot of our favorite tea is usually needed at such times to get us past that little wrenched feeling inside. A sip of Darjeeling makes things come back in balance. A cup of Young Pu-erh, light, earthy, and smooth, restores our ability to carry on.

Next time your memory is stirred by some activity, enjoy that memory with some of your favorite tea. Cheers!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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