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In the month celebrating iced tea, it’s time to accessorize and there’s no better place to look than our new arrivals for some of our newest teawares suitable for your iced tea needs this summer. Take our newest teawares on the go, in your backyard, or to the beach while staying in style!

 

 

The Lucent Glass Iced Tea Jug w/ Capsule Infuser is a beautiful glass jug that is lead free and heat resistant. The stainless steel infuser allows you to brew straight into the jug and then serve it right away. This jug is also easy to clean with detachable parts, so you can use this over and over again this summer.

 

The Charlie Glass Iced Tea Carafe is a 1.5 liter carafe with a filter in the lid. You will easily be able to make sun tea or just regular iced tea when you can add tea to the filter and steep straight on!

The Blair White Leaf Pattern Glass Travel Infuser Mug will liberate you from brewing your tea strictly at home! If you want to make your iced tea and have it on the go, now you can thanks to the detachable strainer and double walled glass. This mug has a lovely white leaf design but you can also choose from colorful posies or delicate white flowers.

 

-CD

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Monk’s Blend is great when chilled or with ice. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Monk’s Blend is great when chilled or with ice. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

You’ve no doubt heard of the Dog Days of Summer. But what about the Dog Days of Tea? No? Well, let me enlighten you. First, a bit about what the Dog Days of Summer are.

Date-wise, these Dog Days occur mainly in the months of July and August here in the Northern Hemisphere. They are typically the warmest and often the most sultry days of the year. The name “Dog Days” comes from Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (big dog). This star is so bright that ancient Romans thought that, like the Sun, our planet was heated by it. In Summer, Sirius rises and sets generally at the same time as the Sun does. So, it seemed that the extra heat during these days came from this “dog star.” The period of time (20 days before and 20 days after the conjunction) are named “dog days.” after that star. Generally, this is from around July 3 through about August 11. The extra heat, though, comes from the earth’s tilt on its axis.

So, what are the dog days of tea? These are the days when iced tea reigns supreme. Of course, the ice doesn’t last long in such high temperatures, so you need lots of it, which also means that you need to steep the tea up a bit extra strong. The melting ice will dilute the tea to a fairly tolerable strength.

Some of us are totally committed to hot tea, so our Dog Day Tea Time is held indoors where a sufficiency of air conditioning is available. And since, like many others, we consider a generous supply of scones, biscuits, and other goodies to be proper accompaniments, this is another reason to stay indoors. It avoids bugs (especially wasps and bees) being attracted to our feast and helps keep our appetites sharp.

When the cooler temperatures return in the Fall, we can once again contemplate that nice outdoor setting for our tea time. Until then, we’ll stay safe and cool indoors. Enjoy!

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

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You may be shoveling out from under the latest two or three feet of snowfall, or knocking icicles off the eaves, or huddling around that gas stove in the kitchen to keep warm because your power is still out, but you probably have dreams of Spring, with Summer to follow, going through your head anyway. A nice teapot with a lovely Spring or Summer time design will definitely help those dreams take shape! They’ll also get you planning those warm weather tea parties (and yes, warmer weather will be coming).

Below are four such designs that are so gorgeous with their floral patterns that your hayfever will go into overdrive.

Some wonderful Summertime Designs! (comp using ETS images)

Some wonderful Summertime Designs! (comp using ETS images)

Summertime Flowers Porcelain

A lovely blue, orange, and purple floral design, featuring gold trimming. Sure to bring color and beauty to your tea time. Available as a tea set and separate pieces. You have several options in all:

Summertime Gardens Porcelain

A lovely mauve and yellow floral design, featuring gold trimming. Sure to bring color and beauty to your tea time. Available in a tea set and in a deluxe tea set featuring dessert plates. You have several options in all:

Summertime Roses Porcelain

A lovely pattern of mauve and yellow roses, featuring gold trimming (not recommended for dishwasher or microwave use). It will bring color and beauty to your tea time and sure to be a hit at your next family gathering, holiday, or just because. Available in a porcelain tea set and in a deluxe porcelain tea set featuring dessert plates. You have several options in all:

Summertime Breeze Porcelain

A lovely mauve and red floral and butterfly design, featuring gold trimming (not recommended for dishwasher or microwave use). Sure to bring color and beauty to your tea time. Available in a porcelain tea set and in a deluxe porcelain tea set featuring dessert plates. You have several options in all:

Just think, a flower garden with no weeding needed! Wishing you many great tea party moments ahead.

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

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fall is just around the corner, only about a couple of weeks away, and it’s a time when my tastebuds crave certain teas, including a few with added flavorings (something I usually avoid). But such anticipation can make time seem to crawl by slowly. And that makes me cry out, “Hurry up, Fall, I need those special teas!”

Fall colors add that perfect touch! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

Fall colors add that perfect touch! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

We’re supposed to have temperatures in the low nineties for the rest of the month. So it seems that Nature is not being very cooperative in my desire for that seasonal change as our tilting planet travels along its orbit around the Sun. At least not in our part of the country. You folks in the Northeast are very likely enjoying those cooler temps that go along with the bursts of color washing across the landscape as the tree leaves lose their chlorophyll. Such a display that it inspires “leaf peeping” expeditions from near and far.

Having grown up in an area that had four seasons clearly delineated, my internal calendar clicks over to Fall as soon as school is back in session or the beginning of September, whichever is first (school seems to start earlier every year, which muddles my insides a bit). That “click” turns over my tastebuds, too, and points them toward certain flavors: pumpkin, crisp apples, corn dishes, squash, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, thyme, sage, and cardamom. Any tea with these flavorings added draws my interest, too.

Top of the list is what many in the U.S. call “Chai Tea” (a bit of a misnomer since “chai” means “tea”), usually a black tea with an array of Indian spices. I like to fix this in a saucepan instead of steeping in a teapot. Two cups of boiling water, two teaspoons of CTC Assam, and a half teaspoon or so of “chai masala” (the Indian spice mix for tea). I put all in the saucepan, bring the water to a boil, and let it go for a few minutes. Then, I add a cup of whole milk, bring it back to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer another minute. One of the best things about this tea is its adjustability, where you can add more tea or more spices or more milk to get it just the way you like.

Other teas perfect for Fall that I can’t stand to wait for:

  • Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea – Loose Leaf  — While pumpkins are mostly used to create Jack O Lanterns, they can also be used to concoct delicious soups, desserts, and dishes. Made using a blend of black teas and South African rooibos, this delicious tea is made using natural pumpkin flavoring and spicy notes of cinnamon. A tea that’s absolutely perfect when served hot with milk and sugar. For the best brew, steep in water that has been brought to a rolling boil for 2-5 minutes.
  • Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea – Loose Leaf Pouches — This tea has the lively fruity flavor of fresh orchard apples with delicious cinnamon notes. High grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level. Product of Sri Lanka.
  • Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Black Tea – Loose Leaf Pouches — Mildly spiced with a refreshing cinnamon flavor. A naturally flavored black tea. High grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level. Product of Sri Lanka.
  • Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea – Loose Leaf Pouches — Lively fruity flavor of fresh orchard apples with delicious cinnamon notes in a naturally flavored black tea. High grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level. Product of Sri Lanka.
  • Granny Green Apple Tea – Loose Leaf Pouches — Deliciously refreshing, just like the real thing! This all natural fruity flavor is perfect for any time of day.

Lots more choices out there, but I like these since, except for the last one, I can add milk and sweetener and have a “dessert in a teacup.” One of the wonderful things about Fall. Of course, I could instead have pumpkin pie or apple tarts or cinnamon buns and enjoy them with a nice cup of straight Assam or Ceylon black tea or even some Keemun Panda or a nice Kenyan black tea with that dash of milk and sweetener.

Yes, Fall is a fabulous time of year for us tea lovers. Enjoy!

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

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Iced Tea by Shangri La - Traditional Black Brew Bags

Iced Tea by Shangri La – Traditional Black Brew Bags

When it comes to tea, certain seasons are known for certain things. I’m drawing a blank when it comes to autumn and winter, though it’s safe to say those are times when the warming qualities of a nice hot cup of tea are much appreciated.

We are currently passing through spring, perhaps best known for being a time when the first tea harvests of the year take place. This gives us shincha, a Japanese term meaning “new tea,” and some of the finer of these varieties are among the most coveted of all teas.

Right now, the afternoon temperature in my part of the world stands at 92 degrees (with 5 percent humidity – truly a dry heat). So it seems very summery, even though summer officially does not commence for almost two months.

All of which means iced tea season is approaching. Never mind that for some of us, it’s always iced tea season. I’ve already written a few articles about my curious tea drinking habits and though my Esteemed Editor will surely cringe, I’ll direct you to one of them.

Rather than reinventing the wheel and writing yet another article about bold new ways to prepare iced tea and whatnot, I thought I’d direct you to a few of the fine articles already in the archives here as well as touching on some miscellaneous iced tea-related bits.

Such as iced tea consumption in the United States. I don’t doubt that Americans drink a lot of iced tea and that the majority of what we drink is of the iced variety. What I wonder about is that in the seven years I’ve been writing about tea the only number I’ve seen given for the percentage of tea we drink is 85%. Maybe this number hasn’t changed even one percent in seven years or maybe I’m just looking in the wrong place.

Then I got to thinking about the term iced tea itself and wondering when it first came to be. I found a travel book from 1845 that commented on the iced tea, coffee and chocolate in Naples. Three years earlier, a writer in the London Quarterly Review noted that the Russians cooled all of their warm weather drinks with ice, including tea. But the oldest reference I was found (in my not completely thorough search) was a passing mention of iced tea in the 1827 volume, Domestic Economy, and Cookery, for Rich and Poor.

If you’d like to brush up on various facets of iced tea knowledge you can check out the articles at this site by going here. Among some highlights, an article that takes a look at a few brewing methods, one that looks at iced tea tidbits and trivia, and an examination of the critical sweetened vs. unsweetened issue.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Spice Scone Mix

Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Spice Scone Mix

Another trip around the sun, another Summer winding down, and another occasion to celebrate with tea: the Autumnal Equinox rolls around once more.

For those of you who don’t pay a lot of attention to the various phases of our journey through this solar system, I’ll give a brief rundown of what “Autumnal Equinox” is. (Those of you who already know this can skip to the next paragraph.) “Equinox” means equal. “Autumnal” means Autumn. Duh! Seriously, since our planet’s Equator (that imaginary line around the center of our globe) “tilts” so that we don’t directly face the sun, our days get shorter and longer (with our nights getting longer and shorter). At the Equinox, night hours and day hours are exactly 12 each. The Autumnal Equinox marks when the days start getting shorter and the nights longer (here in the Northern Hemisphere). With that in mind, let’s see how you can mark the occasion with tea.

Loose Organic Ceylon Tea

Loose Organic Ceylon Tea

Shorter daylight hours means cooler temperatures, so all you iced tea fans might want to switch over to hot tea. Those of us who drink hot tea year round will be looking into some of the more “robust” tasting teas such as a malty Assam, a spicy Yunnan, the lightly smoky Keemun, or a basic black Ceylon. Don’t forget pu-erhs and Kenyans. Blends that contain any combination of these are also good choices. Or you could go for some spiced teas (often simply called “chais” here in the U.S. even though “chai” means “tea”) that have spices and flavors we tend to associate with Autumn here: cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, etc. (so far, I haven’t come across a corn flavored tea, even though corn is harvested this time of year).

This brings to mind foods that can be part of your tea time, including apple pie, pumpkin pie/scones/bread (or even all three), pecan tarts, cornbread with butter and honey (yum!), the list goes on and on.

In many school districts, kids are already back in school so you moms and/or dads who are at home during the day can have a self-pampering tea time. Light a scented candle, bake up some goodies, steep up your fave robust-tasting tea and say “Farewell” to another Summer.

Enjoy!

See also:
An Autumn Cup of Tea
Spicing Up Your Autumn Teatime
Fall Is Just Around the Corner
Yes, It’s Fall Teatime Again
Harvest Time Hurrahs!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fall is on its way!

Fall is on its way!

September is a month of transition, the last three weeks of Summer soon giving way to Autumn. The Equinox, marking that change from one season to the other, is on the 23rd this year. Most kids are also back in school, making the home seem peaceful yet a bit lonely without their antics and high-pitched voices. Time to make note of some of the special dates this month and how to appropriately celebrate them with tea!

But first, a few month-long observations: Better Breakfast Month, National Piano Month, National Rice Month, Fall Hat Month, National Courtesy Month, Baby Safety Month, Little League Month, and Honey Month — all good ones to toast with tea.

On to the daily events:   

  1. VJ Day — 2nd — Surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri formally ends WWII in 1945. Sadly, the Cold War started up the next year and continued through 1991, with the British making plans to secure their tea supply in the event of an all-out nuclear war.
  2. Skyscraper Day — 3rd — Building such tall structures was a monument to engineering. And dining in a tip top restaurant, with the city displayed out around you to the horizon, is quite a thrill. Some of these places serve great tea.
  3. Father’s Day in Australia — 4th — Serve up a pot of Billy Tea for the Dad in your life, no matter where you live.
  4. Labor Day — 5th — A good chance to take a moment to think of all the people who labor to bring you tea.
  5. Fight Procrastination Day — 6th — Gee, I’m too tired now. Can I do this tomorrow?
  6. Teddy Bear Day — 9th — They’re all lined up for tea time — and they’re staring at me. Make them stop!
  7. Grandparent’s Day — 11th — These days, with both parents often working during the day, grandparents aren’t just the kindly folks that spoil the kids with candy. They are often caregivers. They need a “spot of tea” to keep their strength up!
  8. National Chocolate Milk Shake Day — 12th — Chocolate teas can be quite tasty, so what about a chocolate tea milk shake? A great day to find out. Get your blenders ready!
  9. Fortune Cookie Day — 13th — I just snapped open a cookie and got this fortune: “You will drink lots of great-tasting tea.” Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy!
  10. National Cream-Filled Donut Day — 14th — Buy a dozen or two … or three (the third dozen is for me). Have a nice pot of black tea ready to wash them down.
  11. Clayton Moore’s Birthday — 14th — (Born in Chicago in 1914) Yes, it’s the Lone Ranger. Those of a certain age remember the TV series. And that he always had a cuppa tea at the end of each show. Okay, I might be wrong about that last part, but you can enjoy tea while watching episodes on DVD or online.
  12. Citizenship Day (Also known as Constitution Day) — 17th — Certainly something to celebrate!
  13. International Talk Like A Pirate Day — 19th — “Arrr! Where’s me parrot? Shiver me timbers, this peg leg is hurtin’ me somethin’ fierce. And this here hook needs adjustin’!” Yeah, I’m no Jack Sparrow, but good tea is like finding buried treasure!
  14. Miniature Golf Day — 21st — Through the windmill and into the clown’s mouth, down the shoot and into the cup, the white ball travels. Carry a travel mug of tea around the course with you. A quick swig before each putt will assure victory!
  15. Elephant Appreciation Day — 22nd — Some of the tastiest teas come from India and Africa, both home to elephants. Hm… there has to be a connection there somewhere. Ponder that while you sip your Indian or Kenyan tea.
  16. Great American Pot Pie Day — 23rd — One of the great comfort foods! Fabulous with a hearty tea like Assam or Keemun, maybe even Yunnan!
  17. First Toy Store Opened — 24th — Toys are wonderful. The toy store transitioned toys from being homemade or constructed in little Geppetto-like shops to mass-produced and therefore a more affordable “readily available item.” As a fan of toys, I think that’s worth a toast of the teacup!
  18. Will Smith’s Birthday — 25th — Born in 1965, he went from being the “Fresh Prince” to fighting aliens and mutant robots; then, he sat down to a nice tea time!
  19. Ask a Stupid Question Day — 28th — Why would anyone celebrate this? Oh, wait, was that a stupid question? Dang!
  20. Scotland Yard Formed in London in 1829 — 29th — Without it where would Sherlock Holmes have been? No detectives to make look foolish time and again with his superior detecting methods. Of course, Mrs. Hudson can claim some of the credit; she was always ready with the tea tray!

These should keep you busy during September and give you an opportunity to dig into the back of your tea cupboard or pantry for some of those more esoteric teas!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fall is in the air, coming in on a cool breeze under a cliched blue sky with light puffs of clouds. So, this afternoon we hung up our hammock. The end of summer may not seem like the typical time for such an activity, yet it was the allure of the cooler weather that made the idea so appealing.

Mint Leaves

Mint Leaves

The hammock had been in my trunk over the past few weeks of hot weather, awaiting the inclination and a stop at Home Depot to purchase the chains to hang it. Driving home from lunch with my dad today, I started obsessing over the hammock, and the idea of relaxing in it while I did my reading for tonight’s class.

So, Mr. Tea Scoop kindly helped me rig it up temporarily with some rope…then promptly took my spot! While he swung back and forth, eyes closed in relaxed pleasure, I grabbed my clippers and took to the garden for a few minutes. I harvested some cucumbers, hopefully destined to become bread and butter pickles, tomatoes, and mint gone wild. I had planned to compost this overabundance of mint, but as the scent released from the pressure of my fingers, I suddenly had to have mint iced tea.

So, I hopped upstairs, washed the whole bunch, and stuck it in a glass pitcher. When the kettle was whistling, I added hot water about three quarters of the way up and took my rightful place in the hammock while it steeped. While I relaxed and read, my husband called out the window to ask if I had added sugar. Too lazy at that point to adjust the pitcher to his tastes, I directed him on the addition of sugar. After I finished reading, I filled the pitcher the rest of the way and poured some of the tea over ice in a to-go cup and headed off to class. Deliciously yummy.

I’d like to give you a recipe, but I kind of just threw it together. Here is an approximation for you:

  1. 1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
  2. 32 ounces boiling water
  3. 4 teaspoons sugar

Combine all ingredients and allow to steep for at least fifteen minutes before adding enough ice to cool down your tea. Enjoy this last taste of summer!

Don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Hey, tea lovers, Summertime is here in the Northern Hemisphere. That usually means days filled with plenty of sunshine — great weather for enjoying a tall, cold glass of chilled (iced) tea. However, we do get our share of cloudy days where heat and humidity collude in a dramatic display — sudden, intense downpours accompanied by theatrical thunder and lightning. Other times these clouds just hang over the area casting a damper on everyone’s mood. Not mine, though.

For me, a cloudy Summer day sets the scene for one of my favorite tea moments. I brew up a full pot of English Breakfast Blend, Scottish Breakfast, or Devonshire Tea, bake scones or a big batch of Pillsbury fluffy Grands, and settle down in my comfy chair. (Actually, it’s a double recliner so hubby can get comfy, too, and munch on some goodies with me.)

The goal here is not so much the tea as it is the atmosphere. Those dark clouds outside tame the bright afternoon sun typical of those hot Summer days. They also bring at least the hope of rain, very welcome in areas where moisture is at a premium. Also, being indoors in the afternoon on a Summer day enjoying tea can be a welcome change from all that sun and fun. It also means I don’t have to slather on a thick layer of SPF 5000 (just kidding — I think it only goes up to 4000).

As long as you have a great teatime atmosphere (especially one that includes some absolutely yummy treats and a loved one to share them with), bagged tea versus loose is not sinful. Just be aware that most bagged teas contain small pieces of tea leaves. There are two categories: fannings and dust. Fannings are larger than dust but smaller than broken leaf pieces. While whole leaf is preferred by many tea aficionados (myself included), bagged tea made with fannings or dust brew up faster and can have a stronger flavor and scent. Keep in mind, too, that not all bagged teas are made alike. Some brands, such as Devonshire Tea, Typhoo, and PG Tips, are of higher quality due to their selection of the teas that go into the bags.

(As a side note, I consider bagged tea containing full leaves to be a waste, since the full leaves don’t get to open, and therefore to brew, fully. If you want to use full-leaf tea for your cloudy day potful, just dump the leaves loose into the pot, add your water heated to the proper temperature, let it steep, and then strain the liquid from the tea leaves when pouring into your cup.)

Part of that all-important atmosphere is finding the right setting for enjoying your tea. Pick your favorite spot, either at home, at the office, or in a café or restaurant. For example, you may have a loveseat, sofa, or recliner in a room overlooking your backyard, or maybe your dining table is a good spot where you can imbibe that fresh brew while working on a crossword puzzle or that jigsaw of a lighthouse (in fog, of course) in the cozy warmth of a table lamp while the grey skies bring much-needed rain. There is no one spot. Just select whatever setting is meaningful to you where you can relax for even a few moments. If the kids have the day off from school, turn that cloudy day teatime into some quality time with them.

While writing this article, I’m hearing booming thunder and watching much-needed rain drench our parched lawn and fill up the bird baths. Hubby’s sipping his tea and munching on his teatime snack, including some huge, juicy, red strawberries that make me break out just looking at them. I have to content myself with tea and a big slice of lemon meringue pie.

Hope I’ve given you a few good ideas. Now, it’s up to you. Make the most of these cloudy Summer days and give yourself a much-deserved “time out” all at once. Enjoy!

Spend your next rainy day checking out Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

Sitting down at teatime is always a great break in the day. You can set aside your tasks and cares to replenish body and soul. For me, this is also a time of reflection. As tea flows from the pot to the cup, so memories flow from the past to the present in my mind.

The other day I was remembering a job I had in that Summer after my first year in university. Many of us get such Summer jobs to earn some extra money and get a bit of hands-on experience. Where I grew up, most of those jobs were in the surrounding corn fields where seed corn was grown. Every Summer, swarms of Summer hires (usually high school and college students) would go through the fields pulling pollen-laden tassels off of every other row or so. This kept down the amount of cross-pollination.

Needing some funds to supplement my college scholarship, I had every intention of being one of the workers in those fields. But that year the seed corn growers had switched from hiring local short-term workers and used migrant workers instead. So, my father had me fill out an application at the factory where he’d worked for years, supporting us all. I got the job (was actually one of a bunch of Summer hires) and was required to join the union there. This was one of the best experiences of my life (but not because I was paying union dues).

Working in the factory was hard work. There was no air conditioning, so temps got up to the 90s. The pace on the assembly line was brisk (to put it mildly). We had a quota to meet. I had something more: my father’s reputation to uphold, being his daughter. If I didn’t work hard, it would reflect badly on Dad, or so I thought. Did I succeed? The assembly line I was on never failed to meet its quota and often exceeded it, so “Yes.”

The job lasted five weeks. We had met the production goals, so the Summer hires were let go. It didn’t bother me since I had saved my earnings and had enough to carry me through another year at university. However, the biggest thing I had gained was getting to know a side of my father I had not seen growing up. As much as my mother, my siblings, and I loved him and as wonderful as he was to us, we didn’t very often see how he interacted with others, especially not at work. He would usually come home exhausted, eat dinner, watch the news on TV, and fall asleep. The revelation I got while working at the factory was astounding: my father was beloved by his co-workers.

At that time, my father was Chief Electrician and so bounced all over the factory making sure everything was humming along. Yet, every day he took time to come by and see how I was doing. Every time he arrived, all the workers around me, men and women, young and old, would cheer up. Their faces would break into big smiles. My father took his responsibility for supporting his family very seriously but never lost his humor and warmth. It’s one thing for family to see this. It’s even better when others see it, too.

That Summer I shared a part of my father that my siblings never had a chance to see. It left an indelible impression. As I pour another cup of Oolong, the memory comes back as warm and comforting as each sip of that wonderful tea. I raise my cup in a toast. Here’s to you, Dad!

For more great writing, check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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