I’m very lucky to have friends, friends of all kinds and all ages. Those who are older than I am make me feel young and those who are very young make me feel young too. Amazing how that works, but I like it.
The children pictured above are just a few of my young musical friends, the children who sing in the Church choir I direct. We have a lot of fun together making music and sharing our love for singing, but that’s not the only way we have fun. Sharing afternoon tea is another fun thing we do together.
Every tea I host is served in different places with different food. It’s fun to try out new recipes and create a variety of settings. I enjoy playing the part of innkeeper as I prepare for each tea. My teas are exercises in creativity. This month I invited seven choristers to tea. The fun began when the children arrived and gathered in the library of my home. They were excited not knowing what to expect since most of them had never been to a tea before.
Just as a curtain is closed and then opens at the start of a play, a tea benefits from a little suspense too. What’s behind the door the children wonder. The anticipation builds. When the doors finally open I had to say “Whoa, slow down, you move too fast.” Tea is an elegant affair after all, and rushing destroys grace, but I sure liked the children’s enthusiasm. I instructed them to find their seat at the table by looking for their name card.
Everyone enjoyed buzzing around the table looking for their place . . . sort of like an Easter egg hunt, and Jack found his place first. Because my guests were all part of my children’s church choir each place card was decorated with a treble clef and some notes.
I debated with myself about serving cucumber sandwiches. I know not all children (or adults) like cucumbers in the first place and in a sandwich? But I decided it would be good for my young guests to experience this very traditional tea treat. I encouraged everyone to take at least a little bite promising there would be other more familiar goodies coming later. They were great sports.
Everyone tried at least a bite of the cucumber and they also tried the egg sandwiches although they were a little suspicious of the alfalfa sprouts atop the eggs. The sugared grapes were a big hit though.
And a few of my guests actually liked the cucumber sandwiches. Evelyn ate everything! I was proud of her and her adventurous palate. She’ll undoubtedly enjoy trying all sorts of goodies along her way and make a lot of delightful discoveries other children won’t have. But Evelyn wasn’t the only one who liked the cucumber sandwiches.
Lily, seen here with me, was another chorister who will probably become a tea party enthusiast, for she partook in all my treats and drank all her tea and she even asked for more . . . and this always makes a hostess happy. And the whole time Lily kept that beautiful Shirley Temple smile on her face. Do you see why I love these kids?
When it came to the chocolate chip scones served with whipped cream and garnished with strawberries and blueberries I finally had a lot of enthusiastic eaters.
Especially Jack . . .
but Shannon really liked the scones too. Cute kids, huh?
Cupcakes were served too . . .
Anna liked the brownies. You see, I had something for everyone. Anna led the conversation at tea being one of the oldest choristers present. She is a real choir leader too taking on many musical solos at church.
And for a little grown up touch of elegance I served sparkling pink lemonade along with the tea.
I think Sylvia enjoyed holding the fancy glass as much, if not more, than sipping the bubbly lemonade. Who doesn’t feel elegant holding stemware?
Julia was a pretty picture too with her pink eye glasses and her pink sparkling drink . . . and her blue finger nails and her enthusiastic smile.
I made lots of tea thinking I would need lots of tea for seven children, but I discovered tea was not the favorite drink of this group, but no problem. Believe it or not, afternoon tea is about more than tea. It’s about sharing with friends and giving them something new to experience and talk about and enjoy. And I was told by some of the mothers that’s just what the kids did too. They talked about cucumber sandwiches, alfalfa sprouts, sparkling pink lemonade in fancy glasses and chocolate chip scones into the evening. . .the kids had lots of new experiences, giggles, smiles and chit chat and so did I.
I love the ritual of afternoon tea and I love sharing tea with friends – old friends and new friends and young friends too. Every tea is completely different because all guests are different and wonderfully unique. And speaking of unique human beings I’m reminded of a song we sing in choir. Let me share the lyrics with you for sharing doubles the joy. But before I do let me encourage you to host a tea of your own and if you want a special treat invite young people. You’ll be glad you did.
God’s wonderful work of art
(by Carey Landry)
Each and everyone of us is a wondrous work of art
Some of us are masterpieces painted long ago;
on some of us the paint is still wet!
So many different colors, so many works of art,
yet each is the handiwork of God.
Like clay in the hands of a potter;
none of us is finished quite yet!
Though each of us is deeply loved exactly as we are,
there is always more we can become.
Each of us is on a journey started long ago;
a journey full of promise, a journey full of hope.
We seek the way of truth and life that Jesus came to bring
guided by the loving hand of God.”