Monday, August 4, 2014

Alfred’s Morning Cuppa

            Alfred stood in the kitchen before the open pantry surveying the largesse of imported teas.

            “Mother,” said he, “I hardly know which to choose. I rather enjoy Lapsang Souchong early in the morning. Its strong smoky flavor makes it a real eye opener. However it is too strong a flavor for the second cuppa.”

            “Well, Alfred,” said Mother, “what about the Dao Ren Qianxu tea that we brought back from our trip to mainland China? It’s mild enough to provide a strong contrast to the Lapsang Souchong.”

            “Mild it is, Mother. Too mild by half! But it’s not sturdy enough to stand up to the challenge of the day.”

            “Quite right, Alfred!” said Mother, “then how about Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea?”

“That’s just the ticket Mother,” said Alfred reaching for the tin of Taylor’s of Harrogate Tea. “A pot of Yorkshire tea steeped in our Brown Betty teapot should stand us in good stead.”

Alfred filled the electric kettle, measured out six teaspoons of tea into a small dish and waited for the water to begin to come to a boil. Soon the water began to boil and Alfred poured a little boiling water in the Brown Betty, swished it around, poured it out, poured the loose tea into the teapot and dropped the tea cozy over the teapot.

Then Alfred put four crumpets in the Dualit Toaster and said, “That should do it Mother. By the time the crumpets are toasted the tea should have steeped almost exactly four minutes.

A few minutes later there was a small ding from the Dualit and Alfred said, “Break out the Dundee Ginger Preserves, Mother! Breakfast is ready.”

“Did you know, Mother,” asked Alfred as they were sitting down, “that picking out the right tea for the right time of day is somewhat analogous to picking the right priest for Rector?”

Mother laughed, “If I remember Alfred, three weeks ago you said that picking out a Rector is like picking out a cigar.”

Alfred looked sheepish and said, “Too right I did Mother! You want a man with substance, flavor and the right aroma, but considered the further implications of picking out the right kind of tea. It really gives us a parable of sorts.

“If you pick a man that is strong flavored like Lapsang Souchong he might be a little too smoky for a long run in a congregation. Even St. Paul wasn’t good for more than a couple of years in any one place. On the other hand if you pick one that is like Dao Ren Qianxu he might have a little exotic snob appeal but end up being just too mild to get the job done. Then again if you pick a strong person that is like Harrogate Yorkshire Tea you may have one that will be strong enough to go the distance.”

“I see what you mean, Alfred,” said Mother, “But consider a further refinement to your parable. There are two kinds of Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea, one is Yorkshire Regular, and the other is Yorkshire Gold. You would think that Yorkshire Gold would have an added attraction, at least the name would suggest a significant upgrade, but we still have a partially used tin of Yorkshire Gold that has worked its way to the back of the pantry. It just didn’t match our water and the result was an inferior cuppa.”

“Excellent, Mother! Excellent!” said Alfred. “I will have to bear that in mind. The person we call must not only be strong and have a good aroma and flavor, but that person must also be a match for the congregation. The right person must not only look good on paper and in the interview process, but must also feel good on a subjective level. There is a subtlety in that, to which we must give heed.

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