The kettle shrieked a second time signaling that afternoon “Cream Tea” was but minutes away! The preheated vintage, S. GEORGE, eight cuppa “Chatsford” teapot held her poise as she was emptied of the first steamy preheat, readying for the measured tea sac and second fill. Cozie embraced and timer set, attention was turned to the doillied tea tier server display of freshly baked vanilla cream scones which was then deftly arranged alongside the lemon curd and berry jam. Only hours before was the kitchen a hub of activity! The strawberries and raspberries were simmering with a modest sugar supplement for the  third heat, developing the fresh richness of thick, homemade compote as the lemon juice, zest, butter, sugar and eggs were being carefully stirred on the double boiler to become velvety lemon curd. It was nearing 1:00 o’clock and Nanna ALWAYS refused a healthy soup luncheon in favor of some variation of cream tea before her “stories”, the afternoon TV soap operas, came on at 2:00 p.m.

We sat in the Parlor, Nanna in her cushioned chair, I in the Boston rocker, in full view of Nanna’s treasured and perfectly polished Silver Tea service, regally presiding as I poured. …The veil parts…Past merging into moment, I stand to pour for my best friend, today, promptly at 9:00 a.m. paying homage to feminine camaraderie and laughter of days gone by…The veil parts …Is it then when I nursed Nanna back to health, preparing meals and tea and keeping both her home and mine, learning of the life and accomplishments of this amazing matriarch? Tales of Nanna’s childhood in County Corke,  Ireland unfold as her brogue thickens and her misted blue eyes clear; she regales me with stories of the Clydesdale draught horses who were both her playmates and feisty tormentors when she would venture over the stone fence! How bold and adventurous was this now frail woman, once braveheart! The mist would return to her eyes when she told of the banishment of both she and her sister to the convent in England after her mother’s demise and her father’s remarriage. Another pour of liquid amber and the flame would return as she recalled her ocean voyage “across the pond” aboard the HMS Queen Mary to Ellis Island and her adventures thereafter…cleaning for the wealthy on Beacon Hill and converting pounds to dollars at the Fine Crystal and China department in Filenes…

I pour another cup for my best friend on this day, in the twentieth anniversary year of the tragic loss of her first born son and …listen ….to the overflow of anguish that always follows the ebb tide of grief-rage at the powerlessness, the emptiness, the love, the pain …as I see the mist return to shroud HER beautiful hazel eyes. I pour another cup for us both…
Nanna tells me that she loves how accomplished I have become at Tea Service and how she has noticed my careful tending as I polish the silver tea set at her monthly request without complaint. She notices that I tend it lovingly not begrudgingly and promises that it will be mine to polish for myself someday. I smile and tell her that day is a long way…away!
For some twenty years, I polish and love my tea service after …the long way… away.

The Art of active listening extends heArtfully to my best friend as she shares her joys and sorrows, …memlettes ALL, and …we practice the sacred ceremony, pouring daily Tea and sitting in our cushioned rocking chairs in the Great Room with the Sun streaming thru the wall window in the nearby shadows of …a now patina’d Silver Teapot.

 

By Laurel Adams

Biography Laurel Adams is a New England born watercolorist and formally trained mixed media artist who now resides in Danville, Kentucky. A former multi-galleried artist and teacher, her credits include: Springfield Museum of Art Exhibit,  Private Featured Artist Showings, Exhibit Judge 2008, Tewksbury Art Society Juried Watercolorist, Stage set Designer, three year Historic Red Mill "The Haunted" Fundraising Effort designer and Painter. She has also taught creative expression in organizations from Girl Scouts of America to Senior Centers and Nursing Home patrons as well as at Visions Gallery, NJ, private classes and contemplative and spiritual women's retreats. Her current aesthetic palette embraces Nature’s giftings through the fluid media of primarily watercolour, acrylic and Indian ink; however, first her portfolio of early work reflected a love of chiaroscuro through soft charcoals and hard graphite sketches. In 2019, her FAA portfolio expanded to include Prismacolor Colour Pencil diminutives in response to newly experienced toxicity allergies to pigment and resin compounds. NEW NEWS: Laurel is the JANUARY 2020 FAA “TONY” AWARD WINNER, pursuant to nomination by fellow artist/former award holder, Maria Hunt with veted concurrence of Ms. Abbie Shores. Laurel’s former Artistic pursuits include:  CREATIVE WRITING/REPORTING/ ILLUSTRATING, THEATRE REVIEWS for Holyoke Transcript-Telegram, MA. NEW NEWS: Pursuant to holding the Tony Award, Laurel expressed interest in a “VIRTUAL INTERVIEW” with Ms. Shores of “Our Arts Magazine”. The in-depth written narrative/illustration opportunity afforded by responding to approximately thirty questions allowed her to rekindle an early PASSION for painting both with Brush and Word. To learn more about Laurel, SCROLL THRU the FAA COMMUNITY DISCUSSION TAB or Google:  Our Arts Magazine, for ...Breaking News:  “Getting to Know, Laurel Adams”....or see Forums