These are exciting times for the Lunch Bunch, my group of long time friends and "playmates". Three of the group recently hit the big 60 and are celebrating by retiring between now and January. And just this morning we made reservations to storm Chicago in early January for two days of shopping, sightseeing, and other antics not entirely appropriate for women of a certain age. This is a repeat for the Lunch Bunch. In January 2006 I had just turned 60 and retired. We celebrated by making this Chicago trip. But last Friday we started what promises to be a three month party by taking S to Sisters Tea Parlor and Boutique for her birthday tea and dress up afternoon.
Sisters Tea Parlor is located in a strip mall in a small town near Louisville. And what an unexpected surprise it was. When guests arrive for afternoon, the first stop needs to be in the "dress up" corner. There everyone can choose a hat and other accessories for tea such as gloves, tiaras, boas, shawls, fake fur stoles. When we arrived at the parlor L was already dressed
in a white pillbox with organza bow and net veil, white gloves, and a "fur" stole. I had no idea about the dress up option so was surprised to see L all tricked out. She is a sometime decorator/event planner so I just thought she had a bit too much time on her hands! Imagine how excited we all were to get to choose our perfect hat and accessories for tea. S, the birthday girl, wore the glittery hat with birthday candles on top--very fetching. I went with a pillbox trimmed in pheasant feathers and a dark paisley shawl. None of us, however, could rival these two little ladies who drink tea from the Sisters website.
After we were properly dressed we went into this lovely tea room, called the Paris Pink Room. The tables were set with pink, flowery linens, delicate china and special silver just for eating tea. Each of us got to order our own special tea--I chose pomegranate in honor of Sue Monk Kidd's memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates , which I had just read. (More about it in another post.) K, the group organizer, had ordered the Friendship Tea for us. It came to the table on this lovely tiered plate--a delicious mix of savory and sweet treats such as cheddar dill and cinnamon scones; chicken, ham with orange chutney, strawberry cream sandwiches; squash tarts; maple-walnut fudge, Sisters' truffles, cookies and mini muffins with pumpkin frosting. Throughout the meal, our tea pots never got too low.
In one of the other dining rooms there was a list of Rules for Tea Decorum. Quite a long list, actually. Be sure to remove your gloves before eating, use a soft voice for table conversation, be sure to use your napkin, share the tea plate, don't slurp or blow your tea, stay in your seat until everyone has finished. J, the most ladylike of all of us, took on the responsibility for pointing out our disregard of the Tea Rules. As you might suspect, the Lunch Bunch needed these reminders. We've been together for so many years and have been known to get a bit boisterous and borderline inappropriate when "playing" together. But, how fortunate we are to have a group of friends who know how to have fun, even if not by tea table standards, at our age.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.