Monday, April 4, 2011

A Day in the Life...

....of a Tea Lady.
Every Friday our co-op enjoys tea together.
It's a feat to present a beautiful table and treats for 50-60 people.
As small as they may be.
High tea may normally be set with the finest bone china.
But I'd challenge you to find a more beautiful moment than three helpful toddlers loading up a cart of odds and end china.  
These pieces have been lovingly collected for our group and
 are crazily stored in one little cabinet on site. 
Amazingly enough, it's usually the adults who end up breaking the random cup each week. 
Not that anything could stop this production!  One week I had volunteered to launder the tablecloths and napkins.  Heading out the door the next week I realized they were still dirty and in their original bag.  
Somehow we managed with available plastic table cloths, 
paper napkins and a lot of grace! 
The point of this tea time is instruction, not perfection!

Now onto our menu, which is the fluid side of this production.
Our food choices follow the guide of a savory, sweet, and fresh course.
Half the fun is watching what the three assigned families bring to share.  Homemade scones, breakfast muffins, crudite, hummus, you name it, we've served it!
And when one forgets, (as all of us are prone to do atleast once!)'s a gift to see how we pull together and provide for the meal.
From a quick run down to Safeway, or a trip to the car for a full bag of pretzels.
There is always plenty of food for the kiddos to enjoy!
The Tea Lady arrives before any other teacher to ensure the tables and chairs are set up.
Then the tablecloths are smoothed out and the places set with a cup/saucer, a small plate, cloth napkin and a teaspoon. Colored photos are placed along each table for discussion during tea time.  Each term we focus on one artist and we rotate through chosen pieces each week. The kids are taught to discuss the colors and content of each piece, as well as the mood/intentions of the artist.  
Sometimes they even discuss how they might have changed a piece if they were its creator.
Sugar cubes are replenished, milk is poured into creamers, and colorful placecards are distributed.
Once the tables are set and the food is plated, a classical composition is piped into the room to complete the atmosphere.  Then, before we serve the tea, and pray, we also have the children review etiquette.

If you would have asked me a year ago how my boys would do sitting down for tea, 
I would have been speechless.
Now I know that they not only enjoy this time, 
but they appreciate the effort that it takes to set the tea on their behalf.
Our Tea Lady is quite fantastic at what she does.... 
For after the quick teatime, there are tables to be cleared and a counter full of dishes to be hand washed.
It all amounts to a busy morning with dozens of caring mommas involved.
While the students return to their classes, a small troupe works to undo all that was set up only two hours before.  But we all know that doing dishes ANYWHERE other than home, especially with friends is infinitely MORE enjoyable!  
Soon the little cupboard will be full again and ready for the next week's hospitality.  

And THAT my friend, is a day/or morning in the life of a 'Tea Lady.'
*This post dedicated to the one who makes it all happen.  Stop blushing! You are loved <3

1 comment:

Gina said...

What a cool event! I love that you all study art & music this way--and that it's both boys & girls! What co-op are you a part of?