It was a cold, blustery evening in Alaska, a reality that I wasn’t yet re-accustomed to. Not that one can ever really become accustomed to frigid, sub-zero temps, but I had just returned home from Texas and Christmas was less than two weeks away, so I was still in culture shock.
I had invited this guy, Nathan, over to hang out at my parent’s house. I knew he liked hot tea, so I’d made a special trip to the store that afternoon to buy some. I came home with five different types because I, being an espresso junkie, really had no idea what brand was decent or what type of tea a tea-drinker might want on a snowy December night. When I put the new boxes up in the cabinet, I noticed an old box of chamomile stashed up there. Why it was there, I don’t know, because no one in our family was much of a hot tea-drinker, but I was absolutely positive it was the same box I’d seen up there years before. Just a hunch, but I gave it no more thought.
So offering this guy a selection of tea was my idea of an “icebreaker” that night. Except the thing about an icebreaker is that it’s supposed to make everyone feel at ease, right? Well, everything would have been well and good, except which tea do you think that guy chose? Ummmmm yeah, chamomile. Seriously? I wanted to crawl into a hole. Would it taste awful, would he know that I wasn’t actually a tea-drinker? Would the after-effects of it wake him up in the middle of the night, writhing in pain? I couldn’t tell him I thought it was literally years old! He’d really think my family was crazy before he found out. So I tried to play it cool, but I was sweating bullets as I watched him take his first sip. And another. And another. Weeell, I guess it’s not so bad after all… I thought.
So we proceeded into the dining room where we decided to play a game of cards and finish our tea. Half way through our game, a flash caught us both off guard and we whipped our heads toward the living room. DAD?! Few times have I ever wanted to hide so much in my life. There I was, 24 years old in my parent’s house that I had just moved back into, serving my new guy expired tea and now my dad was taking pictures of us! I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was mortified. Oh yeah, Dad, let’s just make this real obvious how long it’s been since I’ve brought a guy home.
As it turns out, my dad didn’t run the guy off and I ended up marrying that tea-drinker! He’s actually taught me a lot about tea (Rooibos…or red for you non-tea-drinkers…tends to be my favorite, but I enjoy it all), and I’ve got him drinking espresso nearly every morning. (Someday I’ll tell the story of how we met. Kinda funny, if you don’t already know it.)
My dad embarrassed me countless times over the years, sometimes purposely, sometimes it just happened that way, and tonight, I’m smiling and wishing he could embarrass me just one more time. I’d like that, I think. ;) He was always a bit of a prankster. Maybe that’s where Judah gets it from. Never thought about that before…