Saturday, January 15, 2011
An Authentic Irish Tea
"An Authentic Irish Tea"
by Aunt Cella, posted by permission
Originally written October, 1969/a true story
Part 3 of 4
An old peasant lady appeared in black dress and stockings, and at the sight of another human being, I nearly broke down in weeping. Struggling for control, I told her I must be lost (although I suspected that she already suspected that). I told her the boats were leaving soon (there was only one a day), but this horse insisted on coming here. She then dropped her little bombshell --- the horse belonged there and was merely coming home --- with an unwilling visitor! She later admitted it was not the first time it had happened. The horse and I had been on the trail for four solid, er, liquid hours! She led me inside her home (which I was than anxious to see despite my distressing situation) to an open peat fireplace with an old black kettle hanging over it, and then began stripping off my soggy clothes. I sat by the fire with this kindly soul bustling about, putting warm clothes on me, getting hot tea, trying to hurry with three huge dogs, and a red-haired Irish grand baby, and a flock of baby turkeys all under foot. I couldn't believe my eyes and wanted to laugh and cry both, at this unreal situation. I watched bemusedly while one little turkey jumped into the rim and then into a large pail sitting on the kitchen floor. Hearing noise, the lady of the house rushed over to the pail in time to pull out a half-drowned little turk from what was obviously a pail of water. Calamities! It was a wild scene. She shoved them all under a basket and then proceeded to cut a homemade raisin loaf for my tea without benefit of hand washing of any sort between turkeys and bread. I may have winced, but I wouldn't have refused her hospitality for anything. It tasted delicious and was served on her best china. She commented that I "seemed to fit in very nicely here in this country" probably because I was petting her dogs that were running in and out, and trying strenuously to see everything I could while just trying to appear as if I had grown up with peat fires and turkeys drowning themselves in the center of the kitchen floor! When I told her I was from California she was very surprised and said she thought I was one of the local Irish girls from "up North". I concluded that I must be fitting in very well indeed. My Yankee twang was mistaken for an Irish brogue...!
To be continued.