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The universal language of tea

Over the years, I have collected stories and articles pertaining to...you guessed it - the universal language of tea! The following is one I have often thought of but could not remember where I had stashed it. It is a Reader's Digest story, but I cannot say from what year. Yesterday I was looking for something else and guess what I found!

The story was originally from the American Journal of Medicine, and was written by a nurse by the name of Hanne Dina Bernstein. To Hanne, wherever you are, I thank you because it touched me. I will share it below.

teatime

TEA AND SYMPATHY

A bald emaciated man lay in the bed, his pale figure disappearing into the white sheets. He had undergone a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I tiptoed in. "Hello Mr. J. I'm Hanne, your nurse." He nodded and closed his eyes. I checked his vital signs. "Would you like some soup?" I asked. He shook his head. "I just want to sleep."

I came back later with medication. Grimacing, he took it and sank back against the pillow. I offered him the paper, but he wasn't interested. Feeling defeated, I left. In the kitchen I was about to pour myself a cup of tea when I paused and grabbed a large teapot. I placed the teapot, toast and two cups on a tray, and set off toward his room.

"Would I be disturbing you if I have my tea in your room?" I asked. "I would like to watch the news."

"Not at all." But he was clearly taken aback. He closed his eyes. I put the TV on and noticed him watching the news. I said, "I brought an extra cup, if you'd like some tea."

"Maybe I'll have half a cup."

We watched in silence, until I noticed he was nodding off. As I left, he asked, "Are you in tomorrow?"

I smiled. "I am and I'll have tea with you again if you'd like."

The next night he had two cups of tea and a piece of toast--his first solid food in a month. The third night he told me about his wife, children and his job as a manager of a supermarket. He lived far from the hospital, and his family hadn't been able to visit. His town was near where I grew up. On the fourth night, he got out of bed and sat in a chair. A few days later his bed was empty. He had recovered enough to spend his recuperation hear home.

Four months later I went to visit my parents. I was out shopping when I heard a booming voice.

"Hanne, it's so good to see you!" I almost didn't recognize Mr. J. He gave me a hug.

"This is Hanne," he said, introducing me to his wife. "She saved my life with a cup of tea."

I hope you enjoyed this delightful story.

The Tea Team at Lady Baker's Tea Trolley has been having a very busy summer, filling orders, packaging teas and delivering. Being present for two market days each week through the summer season can sometimes be cause for panic. With everything going on, it would be easy to forget the calm one can feel with a cup of tea in hand. But throughout the day in our 'tea cave' (our tea packaging room) in the basement of the Confederation Court Mall in downtown Charlottetown, we put on the kettle and take turns picking out tea to enjoy during our tea break. We usually share a story or two, indulge in some chocolate or biscuits and take a few moments to recharge. Like Mr. J., A good laugh over a cup of tea is exactly what we need too!

We'd love to hear your experiences of the comforts of a cup of tea (just leave your comment below this post). Have a beautiful weekend, friends!
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