Category Archives: British tea

Spots Make Me Dotty

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I was looking for my favorite umbrella, which is black, with little spots all the same

size, in all kinds of colors. I loved that it had an overall bright look to it, along with

the main color of black mellowing it out. I felt dressy and fashionable with it, never

‘gaudy,’ despite its colorful polka dots of lavender, bright pink, turquoise, yellow, lime

green and orange. I retraced my steps and while doing this small town tour, popping

into the library to check its lost and found, stopping at the coffee shop on the corner,

going into the gas station, where I sometimes set my umbrella down to open one of

the refrigerator cases. Finally, going up the stairs of my apartment to ask the manager

if anyone had turned it in. I started thinking of the dozens, no more than that! Lots of

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

When you get into a ‘jam,’ you are in a ‘spot.’  If it is a financial ‘spot’ you are in, you

may ask someone to ‘spot’ you some money. You may even ask a friend, “Can you loan

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

Mom mentioned, as I was telling her about my lost spotted umbrella, over the phone,

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

I asked her if she remembered my old Reader book about Jane and Dick, didn’t they

have a dog named, “Spot?”

She replied, “Since Spot is one of the most common names (in the U.S.) to give a dog,

it may have been named, ‘Spot.’ I don’t remember.”

Do you?

 

It made me smile when she reminded me to tell my ‘blogging friends,’ that my brother’s

spotted Dalmatian was named, “Galaxy.”  When he wanted her to come, he would say,

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

The children’s animated film, “101 Dalmatians” really had a lot of ‘spots’ in it.

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

Did you ever see ‘spots?’ Did this experience cause you to faint?

 

Many times, when thinking about food, you may imagine spots to be ‘bad,’ as when a

banana has ‘brown spots’ or an apple has ‘soft spots.’ Those darn mushy fruits make you

dislike ‘spots.’ I have a ‘soft spot’ for pineapple, which while choosing it, you do wish

the outer layer of green with brown triangles, to ‘give’ a little, showing it to be soft and

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

When I think of a positive way of thinking about ‘spots’ I change it to ‘dots’ and I do like

those chewy candy “Dots.” I also like the dark chocolate saucer-shaped candy with white

sprinkles on them which are called, “Nonpareils.” I used to buy a strip of white paper with

different pastel colored ‘spots’ or dots, made of sugar for pennies.

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

I think of chocolate chips or nuts sprinkled on it. One of my youngest daughter’s favorite

ice creams is Graeter’s Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. My younger brother, Rich, just

tried and enjoyed “Blue Moo Cookie Dough Ice Cream” at UDF.  “Spots” placed on vanilla

ice cream in a cone become “eyes” in some children’s minds. Have you ever eaten

an ice cream cone with “eyes” on it? I used to order these for my children at Friendly’s

and also, our local Dairy Depot or Dairy Point with my ‘grandies.’

 

My favorite dress of all time, was one my Mom hand sewed. With its fabric being

called, Dotted Swiss, it was a light peach color. Those white soft, tufted spots

made me feel quite happy wearing and looking at it. The texture was one which

enticed me to smooth it down, running my hand across the surface, while sitting

in church.

 

When you have a ‘blemished record,’ you may have a spotty record.

(But you also could have a ‘checkered’ past.)

 

The positive thing about having those raised acne ‘spots’ or ‘zits’ as a teenager is,

you may have nice moist skin now, which appears young for your age.

 

Another set of ‘spots’ on your face, while we were growing up, would cause some

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

“X” marks the Spot, which is what is one of the best parts of a Treasure Map.

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

While driving in your car, you need to remember to check your blind ‘spots.’

 

Other ‘down’ sides of spots are when you have used the wrong dishwasher

detergent and your beautiful pieces crystal has ‘spots’ on them. The labels

to almost all of these products claim to produce “Spot-Free” dishes, silverware

and glasses.

 

In games, spots are often featured. There are ‘spots’ of white on black Dominoes.

The double colored spots in Candy Land, mean you get to travel past two of those

colored spots. You must beware, there is a sticky spot on the game board, too.

 

The saying, “Leopards never change their spots,” generally means that people

are also not likely to change.

 

In Art,  a technique of painting spots or dots next to each other, making it look

from a distance like they are connected is called, “Pointillism.” George Seurat made

this a famous way of painting, along with  Paul Signac. (Late nineteenth century.)

The style of making spots on canvas is a branch off the larger art category or genre

labeled,  “Impressionism.” When I was teaching Language Arts in middle school,

there was a fantastic, creative art teacher who connected art with music. She played

the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, where it goes “Da da da daaah!” Those pounding

notes on the piano, brought the children to make dabbing splashes of spots on

their paper in art class to create their own pointillism examples. I enjoyed hanging

these up along the hallway, leading up tomy class for parents’ Open House Night.

These turned out awesome, as was the period she had paired sunflowers of Van Gogh

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

Hope they are as fun as getting into a crowded VW or an old phone booth with your

boy or girlfriend.

 

Freckles look like the cutest ‘spots’ ever on the faces of red-haired children.

 

Young animals often have faint spots, like the robin on the white feathers under

the beak. The fawn, like Bambi, has white soft spots on their coats.

 

In England, at a British tea party, you might hear someone ask you,

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

When you think of Lawrence Welk, do you think of polka dots?

 

When someone cooks a great country dinner with all the fixings,

you may exclaim, “This dinner really hit the ‘spot!'”

 

On a stage, there are certain “spots” that actors stand on, so the

lime lights will light them, while they deliver their lines. A director

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

In marching band, you march to create patterns and it is very important

to ‘stay in formation.’ The band director may also yell, “Everyone get on

your spots.”

 

When I think of iconic “spots” I think of Lucy with a black and white

spotted skirt and Minnie Mouse, with her red and white spotted skirt.

 

When you think of a sore “spot,” you may picture your muscles or a canker

sore on your mouth. But, you also may think that someone talking about

a particular subject is rubbing a ‘sore’ or ‘touchy’ spot.

 

 

 

The Ink Spots may entertain you with one or all of these

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

“I’m Making Believe” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

By the way, they were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame in 1989.

 

What tight or tough “spots” have you been in during your life?

For fun, what is a spot you like to head to on vacation?

Or please give us another example of the word, “spot.”

 

Finally, did I make you slightly ‘dotty’ over the usage of the word, “spot?”

Would you mind sharing about the bright “spots” in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

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Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!

Wacky Wednesday

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Blame it on that silly television show, “Mike and Molly,” with the

indomitable Melissa McCarthy and her husband’s character played by

Billy Gardell! I had the song, “Elvira,” with its quirky words

playing in my ear all day today! “Giddy up, Hi ho, Silver!” and

more of those lyrics are like the “earwigs” that you just cannot

get out of your head! Mike’s mother had an 8 track tape of the song,

stuck in her car. Mike’s car was needing to be repaired. He gets

permission to borrow the car. If there is a youtube clip of last

night’s show, with his two African American friends, one a cop and

another a regular coffee shop guy, you must watch it! Especially,

with Billy Gardell’s character, Mike, voicing the words that include

the “Oompa wow wow’s” and the three grown men, actually acting

like they are riding a horse, you will laugh so hard!

(Thanks to Oak Ridge Boys, who released this in 1981.)

I was going to start with a wish for you to have a “Happy Hump

Day!” Then, due to my being a little ‘off’ today, in a whole

different frame of mind, I thought of a fun set of word plays,

making it more like “Have a Loopy Hump Day!”

Humps are due to our getting up the hill and supposedly, for the

rest of the week, it will be smooth sailing down that hill. I hope

this hump wasn’t too big of a challenge for you to reach! Many of

us were saying we were ‘hung over’ due to too much chocolate and

sugar intake over the weekend!

Humps make me, of course, think of the various animals with humps,

like the camel and humpback whale. Then, my mind wanders off to

rhymes, “Does anyone still ask those polite words, at tea, ‘Do you

want one lump or two?'” (I suppose that the British ‘high’ tea,

still includes good etiquette, but wonder if people still buy sugar

cubes to carry out this practice?)

While minds are unraveling, (or are you ‘unwinding’ yet?) I think of

the poor man who is the “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I feel for those

who have deformities and see my Mom’s posture slipping, with a small

little hump forming on the back of her neck. I am trying to tell all

around me, to remind me to put my shoulders back and straighten up!

Train of thought is taking me into a dark tunnel and I may just get

‘off track’ completely!

I do think that it is sad when people used to put lumps of coal into

‘naughty’ children’s stockings…

Even though hemp and hump aren’t rhymes or even related, have you

heard they are now able to dispense medicinal marijuana out of new

vending machines? (Of course, you will need a valid I.D. and a

Doctor’s orders…)

I also heard that Willie Nelson claims that by smoking pot, instead

of cigarettes, that it ‘reversed his emphysema!’ Apparently, he was

diagnosed with this disease while in his forties, smoking cigarettes.

Supposedly, Willie got concerned about his singing voice, so he chose

to quit the one bad habit and continue on with smoking weed.

In the pursuit of some smiles and chuckles, I have a few more

entertaining tidbits that I heard recently. Trivia Pursuit always

was one of my favorite family games…

Do you remember the television show, “Wings?” My parents and I liked

it, due to its ensemble cast and ongoing jokes. It was set in a small

airport in Connecticut, where the young, attractive woman who ran the

coffee shop, was played by Crystal Bernard. You may remember one of

her interesting qualities was, she was a talented musician, singing

and also, playing a cello.

“Wings” included the roles of two brothers, one who was responsible

and the other; less so. They were the “Hackett Brothers,” owners of

the fictitious, “Tom Nevers Field” Airport.

You may know that the people, ‘graduated’ and found new adventures

after the show ended. The man who sat in the coffee shop, who was a taxi

driver, was played by Tony Shalhoub. He moved on to have a successful

show called, “Monk.” Then, one of the brothers, the one who was a little

on the wild side, (Steven Weber played him,) was recently on one of my

favorite re-makes, “Dallas.” Steven Weber is playing the governor of

Texas.

Then, I spotted on last night’s funniest comedies, where a female lead

is just hysterical. “The Mindy Project” stars Mindy Kaling, an Indian

woman who is a gynecologist.

Last night, (4/22/14), another celebrity ‘grad’ from “Wings” was on her

show, playing a cop. His name is Tim Daly, who was the dark haired

‘responsible’ Hackett brother.

By the way, “Wings,” ran for seven years from 1990 until 1997. Its

setting was in a small town in New England. Most of the scenes, like

another one of my favorite ‘oldies’ “Barney Miller” (which seemed to

never leave the squad room.) Well, the “Wings'” characters never seemed

to fly anywhere! They were mostly ‘stuck’ in the airport terminal or

occasionally, the hangar.

Pretty good, clean-cut comedy that has a fond place in my heart. There

was a wacky woman who played the ‘reservations’ clerk, who was an elderly

lady. No one could ‘put one over’ on her! She was portrayed by Rebecca

Schull. Thomas Haden Church’s character was the aircraft mechanic. He

left the show in 1995, to be in other character roles, both television

and in movies… like “Spider Man,” “Sideways,” and a really fantastic

movie about life and death, “We Bought a Zoo,” with Matt Damon as the

lead, while T. H. Church is a real ‘character’ in it!

A sports trivia question could include, “What Columbus team may make a

National Playoffs?” It would be the Columbus Blue Jackets!! They have

made it to Game #4 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

Hurrah, for the Blue Jackets! They play the Pittsburg Penguins at 7 p.m.

tonight.

The lovely Sally Field graces a woman’s magazine looking mighty fine, with

a pretty Spring dress on. She had to gain numerous pounds to portray one of

her finest acting roles as Mary Todd Lincoln, in the movie, “Lincoln.” She

is best known for her humorous roles, her acting career started while only 19

years old in “Gidget” and then, “The Flying Nun.” I loved her in, “Places in

the Heart” and her Academy Award winning role as, “Norma Rae.” Single men,

did you know she has been single for nearly 20 years? (Divorced in 1975.)

Sally is only 9 years and 9 days older than I am and I have been so lucky

to have sometimes been told I ‘remind’ people of her, including my little

brother, Richard!

I did a recent post about the famous Pharrell Williams’s song, “Happy.”

I could not believe my ears today, on the radio, hearing David Lee Roth,

of Van Halen fame singing along to “Happy!” I mean, the man is a Rock

and Roll legend, inducted to their Hall of Fame in 2007. Do you expect

the man who made the songs, “You Really Got Me” and “Jump” to sing this

song… Wait! There isn’t much of a “leap” from his song, “Jump” to the

song, “Happy!”

Now, the final smile that will also produce an “Awwh!” from all of you,

is the story about the couple whose house burned down in Connecticut.

It was such a shame, for Megan and Bryan who lived together. But, the

wonderful ‘love story’ with a ‘happily ever after’ ending is that he

confided in one of the firefighters, who stayed and sifted with him,

through all the ashes to find…

The diamond engagement ring that Brian had bought Megan!

Once found, Brian got on his knee and proposed to Megan!

The viewers were neighbors and firefighters, alike!

Even better…

A week after their home burned down and everything in it,

they got married right in front of the house’s site!

Sent you some smiles, while “I served up a plate” of Wacky

Wednesday trivia information!

An Elegant British Tea

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I was invited two weeks ago to attend a special tea today. I emailed

and RSVP’d. including these words: “I would thoroughly enjoy

getting dressed up, being served an elegant British tea with the

delightful light accompaniments.” My friend, Jenny, and I went

to the beautiful country farmhouse of a woman named Sylvia and I

will tell you about the diverse women who attended.

First I would like to describe Sylvia’s table: it had a white brocaded

cloth table cloth, white napkins with white embroidered roses, she

had two bouquets placed in small delicately painted vases. She had

little plates for our food, individually designed tea cups and saucers

along with a raised crystal cake plate in the center of the table, with a

dark brown bundt cake.

I met a woman named Dagmar, who really looked like an older

version of Lauren Bacall!  A lovely woman who was born and raised

in Germany. When we had finished our introductions and  a few

questions were asked of each person, I was allowed to suggest

the subject matter at one point while my friend was serving the

ginger tea. I suggested of the elderly guests to share their personal

love stories if they wished to.

Dagmar met her husband Robert in Spain on a vacation while she

was 28 years old. She was staying along the Mediterranean and had

spent the day in Mallorca. She had asked her girlfriend who often

visited the towns on her ‘holidays’ along the coast, if she knew of

anyone who was teaching Spanish lessons. Dagmar got the detailed

directions and had a taxi drop her off at the location of a small villa.

This had a vineyard and flower gardens with a market that sold some

local wares and food items. She was slowly walking around the tables

and perusing the beautiful tapestries, hand woven rugs and the different

fruit preserves and jarred olives. She considered the bottles of wine made

from the grapes of this particular vineyard when a handsome, smiling

man approached her.

Dagmar is a very forward older woman presently, but she assured us she

was quite taken aback by the appearance of the man and when he asked

her,

“Can I help you?”

She almost forgot to ask him if there was someone who would teach

her Spanish locally? When she blurted the words out, he chuckled.

“I am the local school teacher of the younger grades, I am known

for helping visitors or sight seers in many ways. Are you on holiday?”

Dagmar said that was the beginning of a cross continental love

affair that ended by Robert sending for her from Germany to come to

the United States to get married in a huge Catholic wedding.

Dagmar and Robert have made it past their 40th anniversary.

“We are on our way to our 50th anniversary!”

The next woman to speak about love, was a soft spoken woman with

long gray hair, pink framed glasses and a striped turtleneck sweater

with black pants on. Her name was Pauline and she was British! It

was so wonderful to hear her voice and her way she put words together.

She met her husband while she was ‘on holiday’ in the Spring, 1970.

(I was fifteen years old at that time, I thought. While she had been 35.)

Her group of coworkers at a large international company had come to

Canada for a teamwork activity and yet, they also were on break from work.

On the way home I mentioned to my friend that it would be so neat if all

companies sent employees across the ocean to become a close knit and more

cohesive group.

Pauline met Ted while looking at the Niagara Falls from the bottom of it, on

the Maid of the Mist tour. Her big, wet yellow “tarp” made her feel dumpy and

she could not imagine why this man kept talking to her, “chatting her up.”

She asked him if he were Canadian, as she could not recognize his accent.

He answered he was ‘from Ohio in the U.S. of A.’

Pauline and Ted became good friends and enjoyed a few meals and only

one night out alone together while she was in Canada for the week.

He had to leave at around the same time she did, so they exchanged home

addresses and phone numbers. She said she liked his looser kind of style

while she was a ‘button up kind of girl.’ She felt that although he was probably

humoring her more than she was, she felt a strong attraction for him!

We had passed the ginger cake, chicken salad finger sandwiches, sugared

gingerbread, relish tray, purple grapes and cream rolls. Jenny had poured

more ginger tea, while we passed a cute honey container around along with

the sugar bowl. One of the women commented next time she would bring a

hand crocheted ‘tea cozy.’

We were ready to hear more now that we had our mouths full of deliciousness.

We looked at Pauline to finish her love story.

“When a year had gone by, while we had written such long and revealing

letters, we felt we needed to see each other again. We had not seen each other

due to tight finances. Finally, we decided to meet at my annual team building

conference in Canada. He would get a room in our hotel. We traveled more

together, feeling much closer,” Pauline told us. “We ventured to Toronto.”

“We enjoyed the bay and the tall buildings. We ended up getting another room

up there, my missing a couple of work meetings. I didn’t care!”

On the second to last evening, they went to a French restaurant that is well

known by the local citizens. Pauline wore a beautiful satin dress in light blue to

match her eyes.

“Ted wore a nicely pressed suit, white and dark blue striped shirt with a light

blue tie. It was totally out of character!”

“When we left the restaurant, I had my eyes cast down, did not look at

Ted’s face at all,” Pauline sighed.

Ted looked alarmed and asked, “What’s the matter, sweetheart?”

Pauline told u,s what we figured out, that she was disappointed he had not

proposed in the beautiful setting of the French restaurant.

She kept walking and holding his hand without letting him know by her

words but her actions spoke loudly, she felt.

At the end of a block, where they stopped to gaze at an engraved, etched

and carved depiction of an old Toronto settler in a canoe with his paddle in

a swirling body of water and the background of tall pine trees, Ted turned

Pauline towards him, put his finger under her chin and said,

“Did you really think I would let you go away from me this time?”

We all six women got smiles, I got a goosebumped feeling up my arms!

Pauline and her husband have lived in Ohio for thirty years, going back

to Canada on anniversaries, taking their children camping during their

growing up years and twice Pauline and Ted have been back to her “home”

in England.

Jenny, Sylvia and I did not choose to tell our stories so we asked Marnie,

the oldest guest there to tell hers as the ‘piece de resistance!’

Marnie grew up in Forest, Ohio and had a simple beginning to her life. It

was a sad story of how her siblings stuck together over time. She said her

youngest brother was the seventh born of her mother, that she died in

childbirth! The Springfield Children’s Home ended up taking them all

there after her father tried various family members, finding out relatives

were not always to be counted on.

Marnie did not shed a tear nor sound depressed, she said they all were

able to stay in the same room until her brothers and sisters got older

and even then, ate all of their meals together.

“In those hard times, my father worked two jobs and kept his eyes peeled

for a good woman.” Her father also came to visit the children at least

once a week.

The time came that she was old enough to graduate and move out of the

home. She had made a good friend, Thomas, while in school and had

discussed many times with him her troubles. Marnie sometimes felt that

Thomas was, “the one.”

She just didn’t know how she could bear not having the littlest ones come

and live with her.

Thomas came to her one afternoon at the place Marnie was working.

It was a nice homey restaurant. The owners were generous and helped her

by giving her any leftovers they knew would not be able to sell. She took these

home to her little apartment and sometimes would pack them up to go and

visit her siblings the next day off.

Thomas got a table and ordered his meal and had a conversation with the

wife of the owner. He was looking intense, Marnie noticed and worried that

he might do something foolish, like join the army! He had talked about all

the opportunities they could have if he made more money and education. He

could be trained and they could pay for his schooling and she could stay back

here with her brothers and sisters, tending them best as she could.

The meal he ordered was liver and onions, Marnie told us. He was half way

through it when the owner’s wife told Marnie to pick up another order to

go to his table. She went to the window and saw a piece of cake with a pretty

pink frosted rose on it. She carried it to his table with some puzzlement but

smiled at this kind, big teddy bear of a man.

The only formal proposal of this British tea came next!

Thomas got on one knee and said, “Marnie, will you marry me?”

Marnie, seeing him in a different light, answered with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

Thomas told her his grandfather had left him a “fortune” and it was sitting in

a bank until this day, his twenty-first birthday!

She had never known this good friend, Thomas’ birthday, even!

And, then, he added something: “Look under the frosted rose, Marnie!”

There was a beautiful half carat diamond ring, she exclaimed to us.

Still amazed, still in love and their story was like saving the “best for last.”

Vanessa Williams has a song with a friend who tells her all he thinks of

women he dates and how he doesn’t see that she is the one he belongs with

until the end of the song. That song crossed my mind just as she finished

her love story.

“I used to make big bowls of bread batter and then bake 2-3 loaves of bread

a day! I also started to invite people to come to my home for a meal and telling

them they could donate a little money for my brothers and sisters. I did not

know shame, nor did I count on Thomas’ money. We kept that for even leaner

times, and still have much left to enjoy our senior years with!”

Marnie also had many people travel to her home to be served high British tea,

with home grown spices, garden bouquets of wild roses with other colors of

blue, lavender, and yellow to brightly decorate her table. She collected antique

bisque china and combined it all to make a picturesque tea “house.”

When Jenny and I got up to leave, the elderly friends who had shared their stories

and the delightful repasts all said, “Thank you!” to us for joining them.

The members of the Stratford Ecological Center board and the Herb Society ladies

were grateful to have our younger ears to hear their stories and see our happy

responses. There are much more stories to tell, I can guarantee, in those strong

and intelligent women’s lives!