The importance of the ceremony.

Image result for japanese tea ceremony

With the ingestion of a third pie yesterday we thought it might be a worthwhile enough event to try and include it in our list of daily rituals. The main one on awakening is always the first coffee and tea of the day, together with scanning the news. Despite fervent wishes to get ‘new’ news, we invariably get disappointed. I pour Helvi’s (percolated) coffee first and then proceed to make my tea. I like to dangle the tea-bag for it long enough to give my cup of boiling water just the right dark colour, before adding milk to both beverages. I gave up coffee some weeks ago after finding out that my  percolating bowels often resulted in a fast run to a  toilet. This often happened after morning’s coffee. So far, it has done the trick and since changing to tea, all seems settled.

We mostly, depending on the quality of the previous night’s slumber, sip our drinks in silence. I broke the silence this morning with suggesting to go for our daily walk before breakfast, and even offered that we might get something to eat in our little town of Bowral instead!  Of course this breach from our usual protocol imbued our sipping ceremony with a strange flavour. I felt that a sudden transmutation in the order of things can often enhance the pleasure.  Of course, in younger years almost everything is a change and its pleasure never ending, and wildly adventurous. It is odd how in advancing years we experience change as an entity to avoid. We get used to our own pyjamas,  the mellowness of own pillows, and can get quite upset to find a pair of socks inside our Headache & Medications cabinet.

We got dressed and walked to Bowral with enough time on our hands to take it easy. Taking it easy, is one of the pleasures of retirement, and our town of Bowral is a haven for ‘taking it easy’ couples. The tapping of canes on pavements is a familiar sound giving great comfort for those without as yet the need for a cane. I know of course that many old people relish being maddingly fit, busy and they show off on TV how at the age of 92 they still go on running on bush tracks saving Koalas, or, how they can still do push-ups and study for PhDs.

With a third meat-pie now making its entry in our lives and consumed just outside at the Gumnut Pie shop it seems reasonable to assume that it has taken a hold in our list of habitual events. The transgression of our habitual daily routine has taken us to an unexpected turn, ripening the pleasures for those like us, ‘taking it easy’. One can never take things for granted and that change ought to be accepted as an unintended gift in spicing up our daily ceremonies.

We have as yet to formalize the eating of our meat-pies. It will take time and habits will ensure that it will grow into a similar yet different path of a ceremony, like our first tea and coffee mornings. This third pie was taken with a sachet of tomato sauce of which its secrets of opening it without squirting, was achieved by some forbearance and patience. It was  a splendid gift of an unexpected morning’s pleasure. Every drop of this fragrant meaty nectar with tom-sauce was consumed with an  aura of a rebirth.At moments like this we are re-born with life revealed, ever renewed by the power of another ceremony.

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14 Responses to “The importance of the ceremony.”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    Tell me, Gerard…When you deem the colour of the tea to be just right and you remove the tea-bag….do you let the dangling sachet sit in the tea-spoon and then press on it with your thumb to squeeze that deep, dark last vital essence of tea from inside the tea-bag?…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      I do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jo. I haven’t squeezed ever the teabag, instead used to save it for a second cup of tea next day. When Helvi found out about this habit by sheer accident ( wanting to know what that second hand tea bag was doing in its own little dish) I confessed my frugality.

      ‘For heavens sake,’ she said. ‘We are retired and worked so hard for some joy. Some retirees travel to China or Tiera del Fuego and you use second hand teabags!’

      I have since that confrontation stopped saving the teabag and we are now whooping it up with a fresh bag for each cup of tea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        A “Catholic caution” against the possible falling of the sword of Democles with the loss of ALL things venal and delightful about one…I fully understand, Gerard….I was an altar-boy once….I fully understand.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Big M Says:

        I remember old aunties throwing the used tea bag onto the tin roof, with the string hanging down for easy retrieval the next day. Almost like new when they have dried out.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        That is a new one to me, Big M. I used to put them on a small dish for next day’s retrieval. Sometimes, when in a generous mood, I used a combo of two or even three used tea-bags for a fresh cuppa.
        We now have a comfortable retirement and use a fresh one each time. It is something our kids would never do. They are spoilt rotten.


  2. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    A wonderful read, Gerard! 🙂
    Routine, ceremony, the familiar can be comforting and calming to the mind, body, and soul.
    But, changing things up, adding something new, creating spice at our well-seasoned-ages is fun fun FUN!
    Human-beans need both…routine AND spice…in our lives! 🙂
    I think we’ve earned the taking-it-easy portions of our lives! 🙂
    HUGS to you and Helvi!!! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo!!! 🙂
    PS…I’ve been known to resuse teabags.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there are so many rituals and daily routines that we hardly ever think about. The first coffee or tea is one of many. Of course, the meat-pie ritual is only just starting and still in its infancy.

      In the distant past, my first cigarette was very much part of the day’s beginning. It was a bad habit but I still think back of how enjoyable that first puff of the day was.
      Gerard, and a paw from Milo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres Says:

    When Dixie Rose died, an eighteen-year long ceremony ended. We always began the day in the same manner. I’d brew my coffee, and then drink my first cup while I sat on the living room floor and brushed her. Then, at the end of the day, she’d come to get her evening treat, and I’d brush her again if she wanted. Sometimes she did, and sometimes she didn’t, but the treat was non-negotiable.

    The loss of that routine took a while to get over. I’d get up in the morning and make coffee, then sit around while trying to figure out what to do next. I’m past that now, but no new ceremony’s come along as a replacement. Meat pies don’t sound too bad, actually. Maybe I should consider them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the same with Milo. The treat is a law onto itself. We might have just given him his dinner but no sooner do we sit down for the evening and he will start softening up Helvi for his treat by repeatedly pawing her till Helvi then turns to me and says, ‘Gerard, I think Milo wants his treat’. He runs to me knowing I’ll get up and unscrew the jar and give him his treat. He repeats this ceremony every hour till we go to bed. It amuses us no end.

      I am sure the periods between are getting shorter and shorter, which increases the number of his treats. He also relates the sound of undoing a jar, any jar, with getting a treat. He is very smart and charming, and his manipulation of us now well established.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. algernon1 Says:

    On mystery bags, we regularly buy from our local butcher, have done so for years. They were family pies full of meat. In recent years they have made the single serve pies, Meat, chicken & leek, lamb & rosemary and pulled pork, they’ve expanded the family pie range as well. The local cake shop does a wide range as well but not as good.

    Last year, Mrs A and I decided we would drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. On the way down we found this place called Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse in Seymour, the pies were fabulous. Liked them so much we made it our lunch stop on our way back. Claim to have been making pies and cakes since 1901.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Algy. There are mysterious pie-shops all over the place. There is a good one in Robertson too. The place is frequented by bikie gangs.

      They all arrive on their Harleys all gung-ho and black- leather clad. Huge tattooed arms and hands soon embrace the pie after which peaceful chatter follows. Their girl friends, equally tattooed, lovingly take bites out of mates pies, licking suggestively the viscous gravy with promises of later dalliances to come.

      This shop has an almost church-like atmosphere for its pie loving congregation. A study for social cohesion and an example of how the humble meat- pie can transform peoples’ lives.


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