Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea!
How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.

– William Gladstone, British Prime Minister (1809-1898)

We all like to be pampered or made to feel special, such as when a neighbor brings by some baked cookies, a friend treats us to a movie, or a waiter or waitress makes our dining experience a memorable one.  In return, we appreciate what is done for us and respond with “Thank you!”  Ah, how the magic of a thank you puts a smile on someone’s face in any language, even with gestures.  And, of course, a simple thank you is an important part of etiquette, which means kindness.

When I was young, my grandmother used to nag me by saying “Don’t forget to write a thank-you card” or “Did you send that thank-you card already?”  I used to think that saying “thank you” was enough, but as I grew older, I realized it was not only proper, but fun, to send a thank-you card with a special note of thanks.

Last week, I attended the World Tea Expo, and as always, it was so much fun – filled with learning, tea tasting, and meeting interesting people.  As I walked from exhibitor to exhibitor, I noticed a lovely Japanese lady dressed in a beautiful kimono.  She was sitting behind a small table that was set up with a bowl and the traditional whisk to make matcha tea.  Part of her exhibit had a picturesque background of tea estates.  I asked her if I could sit and learn.  With a lovely smile and a hand gesture, she directed me to sit.

Soon a young man ran over to translate, explaining that the woman had just arrived from Japan the night before and would make some matcha tea for me.  Immediately I acknowledged her by greeting her in Japanese, and both of their eyes lit up.  After asking her some questions and enjoying the tea, I said, ”Thank you” (in Japanese).  I went on to explain in English that I appreciated the information and her time to teach me.  I also asked whether it was possible to purchase some tea.  Although they were not selling tea at their booth, the interpreter gave me a small container of their tea.  Later that day, when I read their brochure, I found out that the woman was the president of that tea company.

That same day, I met Mr. Grey, the husband of Earlene Grey, a published author and poet who has a new book of poems.  Mr. Grey showed me the book and explained that in the eighteenth century when a guest stayed for an extended visit, it was proper to leave a small book of sayings and poems as a token of gratitude to the homeowner or host.

So take the time to handwrite a special thank you to your mail deliverer or that person at the bank to thank them for giving you great service.  It is even acceptable to send one of those marvelous e-cards, which makes it so simple.  Thank-you notes should usually be sent three days after an event or the receipt of a gift.  But even if more than three days have passed, it is better to send your note late than never!