By Arthur H. Gunther III

We’ve got this Irish lass in the food program, you see, and wouldn’t you know that the gal from down Dublin way just has to have her tea first thing before the servin’ of the breakfast.
It’s a right fine thing to do that, to have the lady’s tea, Barry’s from Ireland itself, ready for her because it’s a certainty Olive will give her best after the drinkin’.
When you’re Irish, and I’ve a bit of it myself, the offer of tea, the right sort, not mucked up by heavy cream or that watered-down 1 percent, is like filling the pockets with the language coins in James Joyce’s writings. Throughout the day, you reach for a coin, the right word, the right phrase to meet the daily battles. Having tea gives you the same assurances. It is its own daily poetry.
Mention an emotion — for the Irish, for the English, for any serious tea drinker — and you will see the pot being readied and hear the call, “Let’s have some tea.”
The world’s problems, your own woes, money worries, Mrs. Murphy’s loss, the daughter’s left her boyfriend, the arthritis is bad, there’s a new priest in town, wasn’t Siobhan so happy? These are in the drinking of the tea. Life’s poetry.
So Olive must have her tea. She really wouldn’t be Irish without it.

The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached via