Monday, January 25, 2010

My Year of Taking Tea - January

As I explore all the incredible experiences one can have over a cup of tea, I want to begin with an intimate experience I had yesterday. My niece visits, sometimes on command performances. In order to gain a bit of attention in her busy life, I find things she "needs" to do for me. I have found that asking, judiciously of course, for some attention is very satisfying to both parties.

Before we hit our market to shop, we stopped at my favorite diner in Westchester. I wrote about it briefly once in the Bliss section we created in Victoria. (Golly, I loved the freedom of those pages. I even thought that perhaps Victoria would spin off in that direction one day.) Back to the Dobbs Diner: My family has been going there for years. My husband and son are in our Iowa digs at the moment--so keeping up a ritual, my niece and I went and had lunch graciously served to us by Gus.

She said she had a story to tell me, so we settled back over our tea. (The brew is often a blessing for conversation, isn't it?) Recently, my niece drove to Baltimore on business. On the way back, she stopped for gas and tea at a rest stop along the way. Traveling on to the toll booth, some miles ahead, she realized that she had lost her wallet--leaving her with no cash to pay the toll.
Turning around, she hastened back to where she had recently stopped.

My eyes started to glaze over, as I have looked for a lost wallet with this lass several times over the years, including a recent excursion at Iowa State University in Ames, just before Thanksgiving. The campus was practically empty and the dropped wallet was sitting politely by the curb, just as it had fallen. Was there money in this lost wallet, I asked. Six hundred dollars was the reply.

Getting out of her car at the most recent stop, she looked around where she had parked, thinking she might have dropped the wallet getting into the car. While she was searching, a young man approached her and asked if she were looking for a wallet. Astonished, she replied that she was. He had noticed it, and suspected that when the person who lost it got to the toll booth, a return trip would be made to the rest stop. So he was waiting for her. Our tea was steaming, but it was the tears in her eyes that accounted for the mist in the air.

She talked to the young man and found that he had just lost his job and was returning home to live with his parents. Parents who should be justly proud of an intelligent and honest son. Perhaps that wallet has some kind of magic--always returning to its owner.

A story over tea--amazing and sweet. One that affirms that most people are good. One never knows what amazing things one will hear over tea. Do you have a teatime story to share?


  1. Hi Nancy...Wow, that was a great story. It reconfirms that there are, indeed, good people in the world. Thank you for that. I needed that today. Sincerely, Susan from

  2. Lost her wallet? Hmmmmmm...that has a familiar ring!

    Love, Karen Marline

    I suggest a chain and hook for the jeans belt loops, perhaps...

  3. Tea was the warm drink of choice in my college days. My friends and I experimented with herbals and Earl Grays and oolongs and green teas. I began collecting teapots of all sizes. I cannot recall all the conversations, but I do think tea has a way of bringing women together to share confidences.

  4. One of my childhood memories is of my English mother savoring a cup of tea each afternoon after teaching school. Now I'm the "tea lady" at work, complete with a bone china mug, which I think makes the tea taste even better!

    I was delighted to find your blog, Nancy. I moved recently, and packed my old copies of Victoria. Last night, I decided to begin rereading them. As I read, I wondered what had happened to you. Victoria was such a joy in my life, and I was one of the blessed readers who got to attend one of Madeleine L'Engle's workshops. Zoe Miles

  5. Nancy,

    My 20 year old daughter and I are starting a tradition this year ~ spending the last Saturday of each month together, shopping, eating, driving to new (to us) towns, enjoying the day together. Even though she still lives at home, we are both so busy with work and other obligations that we feel we need to make an extra effort to just be together. Maybe I will return to share a story or two later. :)

    I am so happy to have found your blog and will be returning often to read your thoughts.

    You mentioned the Bliss section in Victoria ~ if you should ever decide to do something like that on your own, I'll be sure to sign up or subscribe to it! Victoria was my favorite magazine for years and if for some reason I ever had to let a subscription lapse, it was another publication and NOT Victoria.

    Several years ago I was so disappointed when I read that you were no longer with Victoria. I want to thank you, now, for all of the many lovely issues of Victoria that I have in my home.

    I'd like to add that in August 2002, a dream came true for me. An assistant editor (I think) saw one of my little handmade pillows and asked me to submit something for That's Victoria. My Beekeeper pillow was chosen to be shown in that section and I was on cloud nine ~ forever and a day! To have something, anything, no matter how small, chosen for such a wonderful magazine that spoke to so many women's hearts was just the best thing ever.

  6. The first Christmas after my daughter went away to college; so came home and I took her to tea. We have shared tea many times in our home, but not out at a fancy hotel. My mother had passed away and I had a special ring to give my daughter from her grandmother. We shared stories about my mother and her grandmother and I gave her the ring. There were tears and smile shared through the tears that day. It was a very special tea.

  7. My mother and I live in different states so every Saturday morning, we each pour a cup of tea and talk on the phone. Although not the same as in person, but a comforting next best alternative.

  8. Found your blog today and actually have tears of joy in my eyes! After your departure from Victoria of course I lost contact with you. The magazine was NEVER the same after your departure and it is NOT the same with the new resurrection (I'm sorry, but it's true). I ditto what others are saying, if you ever decide to participate in another publication, sign me up...I would support you and also encourage everyone I know to do the same.

    My Mom passed away 8 years ago and some of the blessed memories I have is of us partaking in tea - how I miss those moments.

    Now that I've found you, you have another loyal follower. Judy Beatty Houston, Texasd

  9. Dear Nancy, what a heartwarming "taking tea" story. I've been thinking a lot about how much just drinking tea has played in my life. Of course, when I was a little girl I always had pretend tea parties, sometimes with my dolls and sometimes with adults who would sit in tiny chairs at my table.

    I've had many wonderful hours sharing tea with my mother, family and friends. But one out-of the-way" happenstance gave me a new appreciation for the art of "taking tea."

    We love to travel and particularly love the South. Since I live in the middle of cornfields in the Midwest, it is a treat to explore the South with its history and more importantly, geniune, friendly people.

    We stopped in Vicksburg, MS on a July 3rd to see the beautiful homes and sites. My daughter was in high school and she loved the homes as much as I did. We decided to tour a lovely old home in a historical neighborhood with a beautiful tree lined median. My husband decided he would wait for us on a quiet bench in the shade. The tour took longer than we expected and we returned to an empty bench.

    My sweet and helpful husband had watched two older ladies across the median trying to put a flag bunting across the porch of their "tea house" for July 4th. Since it wasn't working for them, he went to their aid and asked if could help. These two completely delightful southern ladies took one look at him and decided he was from the north and declined. After several minutes, of course he won them over and their bunting hung proudly from their porch.

    When we walked across the street, they were so thrilled "this northern gentleman" had helped them, they insisted we come into their tea room and take tea with them. The home looked like "it may have come straight out of your Victoria magazine." I looked at my husband when he was eating the dainty sandwiches and the delicious little cookies. He held a fragile china cup and looked slightly embarrased while these two ladies stated, "we just didn't know a Northern gentleman could be so nice." As we left we exchanged hugs, and he smiled at me over their heads. This was such a treat for all of us and one of the highlights of our trip. "Taking tea" was never so proper and sweet."

    Sometimes an adventure is just around the corner in unexpected places. I am looking forward to more "tea stories." Jean

  10. Well that was a great story, my eyes were misting too. I have enjoyed the comfort of a good cup of tea since childhood, when my mom would make it with lemon and sugar. Now I enjoy it with a touch of cream please. No age is too young to be introduced to the pleasures of tea. I recently blog about taking my granddaughter to tea at the age of 2 1/2. She was the perfect little lady and enjoyed her tea with relish! see below for the link to the post.

  11. Thanks for sharing that... wonderful..