Hello, Gentle Readers. While I've enjoyed my blogging vacation, on the whole, I'm starting feel like I to get back in the groove. And what better way than to look back at a very special day in the life of Tom Wild Rose...the Getting-to-Know-You/Welcome Springtime Tea at Prairie Cottage! That's right--the long-promised post is finally...um...posted. Better late than never, wot? ;-) I've included some of my favorite pix from the event, plus a few I "borrowed" from Kellie's and Tasha's Google albums and blogs (if the pic has me in it, it's one of theirs). I may set up my own album eventually, but for now, here are the ones I liked best (my new icon--shown at left--is also from the Tea).
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
It all started in February, really. The older I get, the more I find I prefer sunshine, green growing things and cheery flowers to mud, snow and ice. I often wish I'd been born in May, as it's generally such a beautiful month. Most of the trees are leafed out, the fields and lawns are green, flowers are blooming, birds are singing—ahh! A foretaste of Heaven.
|Kellie & Tasha reveling in the sunshine|
So this year I decided to have a special tea party with some special friends on the last Saturday of May, to celebrate the arrival of Spring after a bitter Winter. The “special friends” in this case being two young ladies God has brought into my life over the past year or so—namely, Kellie and Tasha. Reading their blogs has been such a blessing; I had pretty much despaired of ever finding any other young ladies of my own generation who sewed their own clothes, baked and cooked and enjoyed tinkering with recipes, and other such crafty what-nots. But God has a way of bringing you just what you need right before you make a nice little crater at the bottom of your Pit of Despair. As I have kept in contact with Kellie and Tasha, it's been amazing—and a bit uncanny—how much we have in common. To borrow a phrase from Anne Shirley, we three are truly “kindred spirits,” and I pray that God will help me to be a good friend to these delightful lassies and somehow be as much of a blessing to them as they have been to me.
|Our Three Hats--Two of a kind and "the other one"|
It's been a long time since I hosted a tea party—I think the last one was for my Sweet 16th birthday party...eleven years ago—and even longer since I attended one. Far too long. On the whole, I'm not one for a lot of frilly-girlie-froufrou, but I do like to doll up now and then, and there's just something so special and romantic about dressing up, drinking tea and eating special foods with good friends.
As it turned out, Tasha had a scheduling conflict on the 26th, so we set the date for the tea back a week to the 19th instead. Then I set about baking lovely goodies for us to enjoy:
~ Scottish Shortbread (which I'd never made before)
~ Scones (which I'd only made once or twice in my life)
~ Oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies (recipe coming soon!)
~ Mock Devonshire Cream (why it's “mock” I have no idea)
~ Homemade raspberry jam from our neighbor, Mrs. H, and store-bought blackberry, for variety
~ Fresh fruit
~ Nut cups with dried cherries, cranberries and raisins amongst the nuts, and a little square of chocolate mint for each of us
Due to an unfortunate mix-up, a family from church ended up having their open house (to welcome their son back from Afghanistan) the same day as the tea party, so Mom and Peter went to that, leaving me with the whole house to myself, mwahaha. I had barely finished pinning up my hair, when the phone rang. It was Kellie, announcing that she and Tasha were on our road, and which one was my house? I told her it was “the one with the big trees in front,” and they arrived a moment later. When the girls stepped out of the suburban/truck, it was as if the pictures from their Project DOTT had come to life. Both wore their fashionable muslin-covered hats—daintily embellished with ribbon bands and a few artificial flowers—and delightful '50s-style frocks trimmed tastefully with lace. After inviting them in, I excused myself to put on my shoes and jewelry as quickly as possible, then proceeded to welcome them by stumbling over the name of my own house. :-P
Now, it must be mentioned that I had been worried about the dreaded “awkward silence” that inevitably happens when shy folk meet. I'm not exactly the most outgoing person in the world, and when I'm with other shy people, I tend to pick up on their shyness, and it's hard to suck it up and do more than fidget like a little kid at a lecture and stare stupidly at the floor, feeling I ought to say something, but being too afraid to break the ice. And consequently getting knots in my stomach no sailor ever learned.
However, I had prayed over and over that God would help me be a good hostess and help the girls feel at home and relaxed and have a good time. And God heard my prayer, because while that dreaded silence did come right at first, Kellie helped lighten it by vocalizing it (“The Awkward Silence!”), followed by my assurances that “I don't bite—honest!”
Ahh! The ice was broken.
We decided we weren't quite hungry enough for tea just yet, and it was such a lovely day that Kellie suggested a photo-shoot. So, after grabbing my rather ghetto-looking hat (suddenly realizing that millinery isn't my strong suit) and Mister Camera, off we girls went to shoot each other and anything else that struck our fancy. :-P I gave them a bit of a tour of the yard, pointing out the flower-beds and what-not (and feeling like a rather amateurish tour-guide), and gathered some flowers for the table. The little vase—found at the thrift store I volunteer at—was perfect for the setting, and the flowers even matched the colors in our dresses! Fresh green and brilliant red for Kellie's cheery frock, pink-and-white for Tasha's gingham (although the flowers were more peachy, and Tasha's dress was more of a pale mauve), and purple for mine. Hee!
The girls were fascinated with our “gate-that's-not-a-gate” in the West lawn, so we took several pictures there. It really is a nice setting; it just surprised me that they'd pick that over all the lovely trees in our yard. But it was fun, and the weather was perfect—not too hot, with a light breeze to keep the air from feeling stale; a few hazy clouds floating above us in a brilliant blue sky, sunshine, birdsong—and of course all that green of grass and tree, and the pretty flowers. Kellie described it best when she said it was “a golden day.” :-)
Next we moved on to the front yard to take some pictures under the trees, which I call "The Guardians." Some turned out nicely; some were a bit silly, a few are destined to become family classics...and some were just plain goofy. :-P For every nice shot, there was much laughter in between, especially when we found out how hard it is to blow on a dandelion and pose for a picture at the same time. That was another surprise for me—the girls were absolutely taken with our dandelions. I grew up hating them as invasive weeds, so it never occurred to me that some people might actually like them. Learn something new every day, wot? ;-) I told them they were welcome to all our dandelions, but no one could think of a good way to transport them all the way up Northish, so we settled for picking them for our photoshoot.
Whatever ice might have remained from our initial meeting melted away amid laughter, good clean fun...and a few silly shenanigans.
I suppose it was rather a silly thing to do to someone I'd just met, but Tasha was a good sport about it. And to be fair, I let her do it back to me. :-P
Quotes of the day:
TASHA: Did you get me chewing my lip??
KELLIE: Well, if you're going to chew on your lip, I'm sure to get a picture of it.
TASHA: But it tastes so good!
TASHA: That cream ruffle on your dress makes me happy, Kellie.
Having laughed ourselves sore in the face (which necessitated our quoting the Tour Guide Barbie bit from Toy Story 2), we went back inside to partake of all the goodies I'd been making for the past week.
The table was laid with a lace tablecloth that we've had as long as I can remember, backed with a piece of lovely blue linen-look fabric for color. We used Grandma Burcham's blue-flowered china—which I believe was a wedding gift to her back in the '40s—and Great-great-great-grandmother McSpadden's pitcher (100 years old in 1975) for the milk. For our tea, the girls each got to choose a cup and saucer from among my great-grandmother's teacups. I used the one I got as a party favor at my friend Lydia's 13th birthday party...fourteen years ago.
I wish we'd gotten a picture of the table with all the lovely food and china on it, especially the beautiful fruit platter Mom put together—chunks of watermelon and cantaloupe, and clusters of grapes, divided by “stripes” of sliced pineapple spears and fresh strawberries—but we were enjoying the food and one another's company too much to bother with taking pictures.
|Burcham china, McSpadden Pitcher...and CUCUMBER SANDWICHES!|
I'm happy to report that my culinary efforts were a complete success. The girls loved the scones in particular, especially with the yummy Devonshire cream! But for me, the crowning praise was Tasha's declaration that my first attempt at shortbread “tastes like Walker's”—which I got in my Christmas stocking last year and loved. High praise indeed. And neither of the girls even suspecting that the lovely baked goods they were happily nibbling on were gluten-free! I meant to tell them, as it would have been fun to see their reactions, but the opportunity never came up. There were plenty of other things to discuss, however, besides the composition of the menu. Tasha had us in stitches with her tales of practical jokes played by and on her, and I must say that after that afternoon, my childhood seemed quite tame and uneventful by comparison. :-P And Kellie's recounting of the two ladies who (gaspshockhorror) couldn't stand accents—especially Australian—is classic! Ooh-hah! I only wish I had your bravery, Kellie-lass. ;-)
|Mr. Licorice and his adoring audience|
The Tea was only supposed to be from two to four p.m., but when we'd eaten our fill and looked at the clock, it was after five! Hee. So concluded our time together with a quick tour of the work building where we have all Peter's transfer equipment, Mom's music, my jewelry and Mom's and my sewing. I keep forgetting what a blessing that building is until viewed from the eyes of others. It really is handy, as it's almost the same size as our house, which keeps Prairie Cottage from becoming cluttered.
The girls started for home shortly after that, but not before Mister Licorice came out to say hello-goodbye and demand of them to rub his belly. And of course the girls were happy to oblige, much to the purring delight of our “itty-bitty-kitty-witty.” :-P
All in all, a perfect day, and one that will always be a high point (or as Anne Shirley would put it, “an epoch”) in my life. While I felt a bit awkward about dashing hither and thither to fetch the food and wash a few dishes that hadn't been before the girls arrived, the good time we spent together well outweighed all that.
To top it all off, they mentioned that “we should do this more often,” and eagerly agreed to make it an annual event. I'm looking forward to it with great pleasure. :-)
|Tom & Kellie|
|Tom & Tasha|
|The Three Lassies|
Thanks again, Kellie and Tasha, for sharing a very special day with me!