Born and raised in South Texas my daily routine consisted of eight glasses of sweet iced tea. There was no other drink appropriate when spending precious time with friends. On special occasions during the winter, when it would get cold enough, we’d sit by the fireplace and sip a cup of hot tea. It was there that I’d find myself dreaming of being in London and sipping tea in a small quaint tearoom. I could see the cute little tea cup I would sip from so clearly. I had some manners so . . . my pinky would be raised, of course.
Fortunately for me, I married an Army Officer and our first duty station was Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt wasn’t London. However, it was much closer. For an incredible surprise, our second year there, my hubby booked us on a tour to London during one of our vacations. I couldn’t believe it. London, England here I come! Oh, I could vividly see the tea cup and matching saucer where the pink etched roses were lined up perfectly right under the silver rim.
As we departed on our tour bus to London, I was thinking of English tea. I had to have tea in London. I couldn’t believe that my dream was soon to be fulfilled. A dream I had envisioned for years. There was no way it would be a complete trip to London if I didn’t have tea. No way!
Reaching the city limits of London we went through a cute little town and made our scheduled stop. The streets were cobblestone. The sidewalks were lined with beautiful fresh flowers. The sky was grey and it was drizzling rain. Ah, yes! This was the perfect place for that long awaited cup of tea.
It was just after noontime when we stopped for lunch and tea. Tea. My dream come true. As we entered this beautiful little shop they asked what we’d like. Most enthusiastically in my southern Texas drawl I said, “I’d like tea!”
Stunned, the waiter gave me a good long look. I thought he didn’t understand. I annunciated a little clearer, “I’d like some tea”; being mindful that my English accent was a little different from his. With a puzzling look the waiter proceeded to tell me it wasn’t tea time. What!?
It wasn’t tea time! Whoever heard of that? I couldn’t believe my ears. Back home, I could have tea anytime I wanted. Sweet tea, unsweet tea, hot tea, iced tea and even iced tea with lemon. What was this talk about having a specific time for tea?
The dear man could see the shock and panic written on my face. As we visited, I told him where we were from. Of course, he had already guessed Texas. I shared with him my dream of having tea in London and how now I’d missed that opportunity for the day. He politely dismissed himself and said he’d be back in a minute. Not sure what to do, we stood there chuckling wondering what the waiter was thinking. We figured he too was getting a good chuckle. Foreigners!
To our surprise, the young waiter appeared and ushered us to a special table he had sat up for us. He couldn’t bare the thought of stealing my dream of tea in London. As he escorted us to our table, others brought out the finest china, English tea and fresh-baked scones. Oh my, somebody pinch me! I was having tea in London. Tea and scones. It was a perfect picture.
Foreigners we were! But that quaint little tea shop made us feel like we were the only ones that mattered. They made it such a special time; although, it was not the right time. As special as that tea was, it’s the experience I remember most. The memory my husband and I share from that journey is irreplaceable. It was certainly a real dream come true. I had my cup of tea in London!
Yes, that day in a quaint little tea shop my dream was fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination. My English tea was excellent and in the daintiest of tea cups. It was amazing!