On Retirement: This holiday season brought to you by the letter T

The T’s are my focus this month: Thanksgiving, of course, but also tea and tee.

First, there are the multiple reports that most common tea bags are not good for our health.

Steeping a single tea bag at brewing temperature releases about 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion even smaller particles in a cup, multiple researchers have reported. By comparison, common table salt, also found to have the ultra-tiny particles, has a mere 0.005 micrograms per gram.

The plastic polymer in teabags, polypropylene, is know to adversely affect the endocrine system, which can cause a number of health issues and chronic conditions, researchers state. And, of course, they add that there should be more research on the effects.

Additionally, due to the plastic content, the tea bags do not completely decompose. That’s another environmental downer.

Plastic in tea bags? Turns out it’s there for the bags to keep their seal and shape in hot liquid. And manufacturers have protested it would be too costly to switch to plastic-free tea bags.

It’s difficult to imagine a tea bag-free world.

Of course, there is loose-leaf tea, which several sources claim can be made “just as conveniently.” Steeped loose tea is actually is my preference, but cleaning the pot or strainer or French press of the leaves that tend to stick is a tad challenging.

Loose tea, the article also notes, tends to be more flavorful because the tea leaves “haven’t been ground to dust to fit into that tiny plastic-riddled tea bag.” Also news to me.

My husband, whose preference tends toward herbal teas, objects that he only finds those tea bags in the outlets he shops. Ah, but there are sources for bulk herbal varieties. Since he seldom reads this column, he likely will not learn that until Christmas morning.

That December holiday is normally rather quiet for us.

Thanksgiving is another matter. It is our major family affair, one we have dubbed “Thanksmas.” It is easier for our family to gather from Martinsburg, Morgantown and northern Pennsylvania for the celebration of both holidays and two wedding anniversaries. It also leaves some options if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

We celebrate with a good meal, family games, unwrapping gifts and, as a general rule, some hot cups of tea. Yes, even the grandchildren imbibe.

As the day is just over a week away, we have a couple of piles of wrapped gifts awaiting the celebration.

Another “T” figures in that day, as well. We have a bag of 13 T-shirts from our granddaughter’s years in youth theater in Martinsburg. She is now in college and hoping I can piece those mementos into quilt blocks.

My experience is limited to baby quilts many years ago. Those were, of course, a much smaller-scale project, completed with a bigger sewing machine sold when we downsized, and, more importantly, better eyesight. Much better. Threading a needle is, well, a major challenge now.

Armed with advice from experienced quilters and the internet, my first attempt to piece a “demonstration” square was relatively successful. We’ll learn at Thanksgiving if it meets with the 18-year-old’s approval. If so, she will have to decide on the size, the arrangement, the border fabric and the like.

She will have to find someone else for quilting; I have no frame or long-arm machine ... and even less interest.

Intimidating as it is, trying something challenging is exactly what we seniors need, we repeatedly are told. We should leave our comfort zone, wrote Betty Finney in her first book. She practices what she preaches. “At 71, I performed in a tap dance show, at 77, I went zip-lining and ‘Tarzan swinging’ with my husband in Costa Rica, and at 78, I wrote my book, ‘Growing Young.’”

Quite frankly, it’s not my style to tap dance or Tarzan swing, but I will keep at my trusty Singer Featherweight awaiting our granddaughter’s decision on the T-shirt project.

May your Thanksgiving be a joyous celebration with loved ones.

Contact writer Evadna Bartlett at evadnab07@gmail.com

Funerals for Thursday, December 5, 3019

Bays, Bertha - 1 p.m., Montgomery Memorial Park, London.

Brammer, Larry - 1 p.m., Greene-Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton.

Crouch, Patty - 1 p.m., The First Freewill Baptist Church of Chesapeake.

Ferguson, Alice - 6 p.m., First Baptist Church of Kenova.

Harris, Curtis - 11 a.m., St. Matthew Catholic Church, Ravenswood.

Holcomb, Robert - 2 p.m., Mt. Gilead Cemetery, Pool.

Jarrell, Alma - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Lanham, Edward - 6 p.m., American Legion, St. Albans.

O'Dell, Shelvia - 11 a.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Russell, Edra - 1 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Stewart II, Randall - 1 p.m., White Funeral Home, Summersville.