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  • I really enjoyed afternoon tea with my dad when I was a kid.

    I suppose most cowboys don’t drink tea, but Dad did. He would come to the house from stacking hay or fixing some machinery in the shop in the late afternoons. He’d make a cup of English tea for each of us and he’d have a snack, maybe saltines and butter or saltines and a tin of sardines.

    I’d sit with him at the kitchen table and drink tea and we’d chat. He was really relaxed during those breaks and it was lovely to sit with him.

    Sometimes he would stir some jam or butter into my tea. “People in India put butter in their tea,” he told me. I thought this was so fun and exotic. Then he would roll himself a Bull Durham cigarette, spilling golden tobacco leaves on the table. I remember the crinkly sound of the thin cigarette paper. He’d lick it and twist it up. He’d sit back in his kitchen chair and smoke. He was the kind of smoker who would have only one cigarette a day.

    Then he’d stand and take his white straw Resistol cowboy hat off the top of the refrigerator and place it back where it had been all day, on the sweatband of black hair. He’d go back out into the sunny summer day and work until dark.

    To this day, I drink a strong English tea every afternoon, and, sometimes, enjoy some saltines and sardines as an afternoon snack.
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