March 17, 2024

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     You cannot have the Irish without tea. When the person holds a cup, it is the soul that comes to visit, both to nourish and to be nourished. Every sadness, every joy, every birth, every passing, every harvest, every leaving home of a once child, all that is now before you in reflection in that cup of tea.

     My own mother, of pure Irish who were out of Donegal, never had a morning or an afternoon or an evening without her strong tea. During World War II, she gave up rationed sugar and saved on milk by using a canned sweetened condensed mix. But the tea she would not be without.

     There are moments when you have tea. If you stir quickly, you might be nervous. If you sip with two hands on the cup, you may be enjoying your company. If you are a woman in love, you may leave a bit more lipstick on the edge.

     Tea is that friend who never leaves, never ages, never talks back. It is the wisdom, the lessons, the sacrifices of generations there, in that cup. And the future, too.

So, on this day of St. Patrick’s, perhaps another cup, to toast.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman.This essay is modified from an earlier one.


‘TEA TIME, 1938/gunther