In addition to getting my conservative emotions riled up, all the recent talk of tea parties had me thinking of Nanny Sue and our tea parties at her kitchen table. I started drinking tea when I was probably about 4. Nanny made it with milk and plenty of sugar -- and I still like my tea this way. Her kitchen and pantry were a child's dessert heaven, stocked as they were with Ring Dings, Chips Ahoy, Pillsbury crescent rolls, Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, not to mention Grandpa's supply of gumdrops and licorices. So there was no shortage of sweets to accompany the cup of tea.
Sometimes Nanny poured her tea into her saucer to cool faster and sipped it up. I always sat right by her side. Sometimes I drew pictures to be taped to her pale green kitchen wall. Sometimes I just listened to news and gossip she and my mom shared. She admired my long hair because her own hair never grew long after she had scarlet fever.
I can't say I really remember why we called them tea parties or what we may have done to make them special from a regular cup of tea. But tea parties are a big part of my memories of Nanny Sue. Whenever I make a cup of tea and stir in my two teaspoons of sugar (and sometimes three when I deem the cup "big" or just as a nod to Nanny and Grandpa), I remember Nanny Sue and Great Grandpa Tom and their old green house fondly.