heirlooms

Take it on the Tea

I love watching period dramas. I’m partial to a good mystery series. There’s one trope in period dramas that makes me “awwwww” in disappointment like a soccer fan when a goal is missed. Can you guess?  

If you’re going to hunt for clues, carry a tea service or at least a cup!

 

When the terrible evidence is discovered, someone drops a tea tray. Sometimes it’s only a cup and saucer. The key is, disasters provoke the immediate disintegration of china. 

It’s been almost three years since my dad died, and I’ve been conscious of how swiftly time passes. Many of my friends have lost a parent now. When we’re gathered around our children, watching them blow out candles and widen their eyes over ice cream, I can’t help but feel the fragility in the moments. Our littles will hopefully outlive us all. They’ll be the ones remembering the strength in the arms that held them, the warmth that fades out of old photographs, the love that lit their birthday candles.   

Teacups are the closest thing to holding memories in my hands. They are strong and fragile, warm and rich, or cold and empty. I set them out for friends and fill them to the brim with the best I have. 

I hope to continue doing so for many years. I hope I get to watch my grandchildren break my china with the careful distraction of childhood. Perhaps I’ll even rejoice to see them off to their homes with my old cups in hand. 

When I’m silvered over and it’s my turn to be the body in the library, I hope that whoever finds me is holding a teacup. I hope they drop it with a satisfying clatter. Then someone will come running. They’ll shake their heads at the poor old dear who left the world in quiet, and they’ll smile at the broken cup on the floor. “Gran always liked a bit of drama,” they’ll smile. Tears will disappear into sleeves. “Come on. Let’s get some tea.”

Tea Cabinet refresh 

I’ve been swamped lately with the birth of my 3 month old daughter (our fifth child), edits to the novel Tea and Crumples (Light Messages Publishers, November 2015), and preparing for this past weekend’s Read Local Book Festival. The house –how can I say this kindly? — suffered. Today I listened to an organizing podcast that reminded me to start de-cluttering with a small project that is my space. It also advised using one’s favorite things. So I did.  I purged teas I don’t like. I set aside the empty tea tins and packets of tea I’ll never drink. I’ll donate them to my church’s giant garage sale at the end of the summer. The new space allowed me to display necessary tea things in beautiful heirlooms.

  The Vaseline Glass bowl from my Grandmother-in-law holds tea sachets for travel. The silver plate basket and child cup are from my husband’s parents. One of his baby cups holds stevia packets.

  The pewter cup holds honey sleeves.

  I was able to fit the children’s tea set into the new arrangement, as well as the cup of silver teaspoons.

 My favorite “top shelf” teas hold a spot on the top shelf. Years ago, my tea cabinet was so tall that I kept them on the middle one, much to friends’ amusement. My favorite bit of whimsy is the squirrel card holder. He’s proclaiming the heart of my writing life: faith, tea, and love in journeys of healing. Now that the tea cabinet is organized, I can share more of all three with friends!

How about you? Do you have a tea cabinet? Link to your blog post or describe it in the comments below!

[For a recap of the Read Local festival, visit my main website: WritingLikeAMother.com|

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Just heard the exciting news that my novel, Tea and Crumples, launches at the Main Branch of the Durham Library in downtown, Saturday, November 7! A tea party, a book party, in a library!