It was the same every day. It was the way it had been done for generations. Boil the water, then let the kettle stand for exactly two minutes. Place one measured tablespoon of loose tea into the pot. Add the water, and let steep for exactly four minutes. In a glass mug, add the juice of half a lime. Then strain the tea into the cup. Finally take the special bottle from the spice-rack and place exactly one drop into the cup.
“Momma, do we have to be so exact?” Margery asked. “Isn’t tea, well, just tea?”
“No, it needs to be exactly this way. It’s the way she likes it.”
“Okay, but how’d she know?” Margery asked.
“I thought that too,” Momma replied.” “I was thirteen, like you, and didn’t see why we made all the fuss. So one morning I used a teabag instead. Do you know, the first thing she said?”
“She said, ‘It smells wrong,’ before she even got to the table,” Momma explained. “Then she said, ‘are you trying to kill me?’”
“Weird,” Margery muttered under her breath.
Just then her great-great-grandmother, aged-one-hundred-and-twelve, spryly came down the stairs. “Is my tea ready yet?”