Tea for Two

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
As a little girl, there was something magical to me about a tea party, even the ones that were around a little children’s table lined with teddy bears and favorite dollies. I wouldn’t say that I was ever a “girly girl”—I migrated more toward dirt and trees than sugar and spice and everything nice. But the exception for me, my journey into the world of ribbon and bows, was the tea party.

Even now, when I daydream I find myself drawn to two scenes: one of a big old Southern plantation with women sitting on its porch, fanning themselves while drinking glasses of iced sweet tea, and the other of a 1920’s English secret garden at low tea. High tea is a little too indulgent for me to imagine, but I love the vision of low tea, with beautiful scones and tea and sitting in the garden while the evening breeze blows away the cares of the day.
My house is lined with teapots that I have picked up over time. I can spot them anywhere in a store; they seem to just call out to me. Although I have yet to find a silver tea set, it is on my list of “must-haves.” For now, I feel particularly blessed when I find them in white or yellow, but they all call to me. So do teashops and tea in general. I love the loose teas the best, and I adore teashops that allow me to blend my own.
I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about why I love tea, teapots or low tea the way that I do. I suspect it is the thought of being “distinguished,” since it seems to me that those partaking in tea are distinguished. Or maybe I view it as an activity that only those who indulge in “the sharing of time” would bother with. Or maybe it is the endless romantic in me. I love sitting at the best part of the day, waiting for the sun to drop over the horizon and saying goodbye to the workday. I love saluting the day by stopping to give respect, by dedicating time to look the day in the face and deal with it, keeping it contained in the 24 hours that it belongs in. It’s important to stop long enough to breathe it all in, then breathe it back out again and actually deal with it.
In my mind’s eye, scenes involving old homes with big porches always have a pot of hot tea or a pitcher of iced sweet tea, inviting me to sit and share the cares of the world or the day. And don’t forget the scones dripping with melted butter and jam.
More of us should take a lesson from our ancestors who knew that the key ingredient to longevity was taking time at the end of the day to not only to nourish the body with tea, but to also to nourish the soul. I cannot help but wonder if they were more present than I find myself sometimes. Or maybe they were just more grateful, as they took the time to express their gratitude for all that came to them during the day…all the lessons learned, people met, life loved, and things survived.
I think it is time to blow some dust off some of these teapots and put them to use. Time to find a corner of my world where I can sit with those I love and be present, then watch the sun as it dances on the horizon saying its goodbyes to the day as I do the same. I am convinced that there would be more things in my day that I would be grateful for if I would just take the time to think about them before they all blended together. So, I am planning to take a lesson from the past yet again and plan tea for at least two.

  1. jami says:

    Oh, to find a like maiden entrenched in the love of tea and a quiet moment in life. Tea brings to me the same feelings, it gives me time to settle down, savour the morning or the day. Eventho I love the look of a Tea for One, I really believe tea is to be enjoyed with a friend to derive the most benefits. I am so fortunate to belong to a guild of like minded ladies. In fact on Saturday we dressed for A Morning in Paris, 1915 to ride in a restored open touring bus of Yellowstone around Idaho Falls. Visiting the farmers market, the artisians market, the museum with a bicylce exhibit and the Paris room of the local theme hotel. We recieved a posey in a french cart, had cream puffs at the bakery and enjoyed a brunch. What a kick! "Tea" runs through my veins.

  2. carol branum says:

    hi,I collect red to go with all of my red work,I have several,and some have green on them,and some green,I also have a very special set of childrens blue willow,i got for xmas the year i attended a one room schoolhouse,as a child i had tea parties with my dolls,including a poor pitiful pearl,an original barbie,and scarecrow from the wizzard of oz I called mr.carrot face,my uncle made me a wooden table and chairs for children,it was awsome.But,today,I still have tea parties with my ya ya girlfriends,and we get out the red twail transferware set,it is so much fun.Its been cool here for a couple of days,I may have to call a friend.have a great day,blessed be,carol branum,the mofarmersdaughter@blogspot.com,I think,I don,t write myself,sort of like I don,t call myself,so I can,t remember it for sure unless it is in front of me.

  3. Rene,
    I have a 17 year old daughter and every year for the past five or so we have hosted a tea party for her friends and their mothers. We generally have it the first week of December, share Christmas stories and exchange gifts. We have a marvelous time just being girls/ladies.
    We use my grandmother’s teacup and saucer collection (the only time of year it comes out of the attic) and everyone brings their favorite dainties to snack on.
    I encourage everyone to have tea parties. If you don’t have a daughter, borrow one. You will be blessed.

  4. Gary says:

    You’re right about the iced Sweet Tea Rene’…
    It’s a Southern Country Tradition.
    My Mom always kept a green Fiesta-ware pitcher of fresh iced sweet tea in the kitchen, and it was on the table at Dinner and Supper.
    Yes Dinner… "lunch" was something city folks had.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  5. Donna says:

    A sign of the times. I have gathered together invitations and a menu. I have the perfect out fit to wear. And I will have a magical tea party, with my sister in law and my great nieces. The key will be they are in another state. We will do it via Skype on the computer. I cant go visit. They are in school. So we will do it the new way.
    They are 4 and 7. I know it is not conventional. I think this will be fun. I didnt discover tea parties till I was an adult. To much of a tom boy.

    Don’t you adore SKYPE? It is the third best thing to being there ( 1. being there, 2) them being here 3) skype… 🙂

  6. terces says:

    I grew up for a few years in England and we were often served hot tea with milk and sugar in bed to warm us up in a coal heated, drafty house. I still love special tea cups and often enjoy bringing my husband and myself a cup of tea in bed after the long days of farming. Something about it warms my heart and soul and quiets my mind.
    I notice that when I want to really connect with one of my children (grown women with babies of their own) I offer them a cup of tea and we sit and connect like no other time in our lives. I think it is the pause that a cup of tea creates that allows for our hearts to open and share so deeply.

  7. Nancy says:

    My three year old granddaughter, her little friend and my daughter came to our home last Spring for their very first tea party. It was a delightful and memorable day which I will always cherish. The little girls were dressed in pink party dresses and matching hats. My granddaughter had been waiting several weeks for this tea party. She ran up to the table I had been preparing for two days and exclaimed, "Oh my tea party, my tea party!" Her little friend was wide eyed and speechless. The tea party table was decorated with white lace, pink roses, ribbon and lavender. Per my granddaughter’s request, tea sandwiches, strawberries and tiny cupcakes were served and of course tea or pink lemonade. The crowning touch of the table was  pink and white rose dishes, which belonged to my mother. After the girls completed tea and treats, they went to the end of the table where I had placed a small table of teddy bears and dolls to have their tea party. We moved them to the floor where tea party number two began. My tea pots and tea cups that day were especially enchanting.I can still hear the clanging of cups and the sweet little voice saying "Tea for two!

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