Once again my cup of tea plays into my theme. I suppose I could make a joke about a Tempest in a tea cup, but I don’t think Shakespeare would approve. Although, he did have a penchant for puns. My tea for the evening is oolong by a company call Lungfung. How I come to be drinking it is the first part of the story.
Some time ago, how long I’m not sure, my wonderful wife and I were in an Asian market in Orlando doing some shopping. I was getting stuff for a stir-fry and she was picking out tea. She had recently heard about the health benefits of oolong tea, so she was going to add it to her repertoire. She picked out four or five brands she wanted to try, and we brought them home.
There wasn’t room in the cabinet where we keep the tea, so most of the boxes were stashed in the pantry. We don’t have a terribly large pantry, so it tends to be crowded. Boxes on top of boxes. Cans on top of cans. One thing pushed out of the way to make room for something else. At some point, the boxes of oolong were pushed to back and promptly forgotten.
A couple of days ago, I was looking through my teas trying to decide what to drink. While I was looking, a vague memory worked its way into my consciousness. Didn’t we stash some tea somewhere? The pantry perhaps? So I went and looked. There behind the boxes of pasta and bags of lentils and rice, I found the cache of oolong.
For those of you love words, I give you the word “Retrouvaille.” Word Porn defines this as “(n.) the joy of meeting or finding someone again after a long separation; rediscovery.” This is how I felt finding all this wonderful tea hiding in my house. I also felt a bit silly for having forgotten about them, but I choose to embrace the former rather than the latter.
As I drank my first cup of oolong from the cache, I remembered how they got there. I figured the story would someday make it into this blog, but then came the second part of this story.
This part of the story starts back in the 1960’s. I was very young in the 60’s and I have vague memories of watching the Andy Griffith Show on television. There was a group of characters called the Darlin’ Boys. They were a family of hill people who would come down to Mayberry for a little “pickin’ and singin'” with Andy and the gang. I don’t actually remember this, but I have it on good authority.
The next part of this story takes place in the late 1980’s. I was on vacation in the Ozarks and went to see a group call the Dillards. As I wrote in an earlier post, one of my musical guilty pleasures is Roots and Americana music including Bluegrass. The Dillards were relatively famous in Bluegrass circles at that time so I was thrilled to be able to hear them perform live.
You’ve probably figured out that the Dillards and the Darlin’s of The Andy Griffith show were one and the same. I found out when they mentioned it on stage, not in passing, but repeatedly and often. So often in fact that it became a little uncomfortable. I was surprised that they were so focused on the past because they didn’t need to be. Their music was good enough to stand on its own without the frequent appeals to nostalgia.
The final part of this story takes place in the present. A day or two ago, I am flipping through the guide on cable, and I stop to see who is on PBS’ Song of the Mountains. Yep, it was the Dillards. Well, more specifically, it was Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band as they are now called. I can’t pass up some good Bluegrass so I turned it on.
At first I didn’t recognize the silver-haired man singing, then it dawns on me. I haven’t seen the Dillards in 25 years. Then I felt stupid, but I got over it. I was enjoying the music. I was even enjoying hearing the same old corny jokes. But then came a reference to the Darlin’ Boys and the Andy Griffith Show. Then another, and another. It’s been 50 years, and that is still a large part of their show. Maybe it’s me, but it seemed excessive.
The project behind Constructing a Life is about learning to live in the moment, in the present, and appreciating the people, places and things around me. It is also about finding those things that had been lost, and making them part of the here and now. But there has to be a balance. I can let the past inform the present, but I can’t let it dictate or dominate, or I will lose the joy I find in what is around me. The past is prologue, and that is how it should stay. For me, at least.