By Susan Lynch
Last week I found out my mother was attending a “tea party” and curiosity won the battle. You see, I remember having tea parties as a child. Most of the time surrounded by my stuffed animals and the occasional Barbie, I would pretend to have grown up conversation and sip on invisible tea, so the thought of adults having a real tea party intrigued me and I had to see what the deal was.
The smell of fresh baked scones slapped me in the face as I climbed out of my vehicle and made my way towards Patti and Mark Reese’s home. Patti, our hostess, instantly struck me as someone who had a heart to serve. She so obviously enjoyed setting the table and preparing the fresh brewed teas that I felt instantly comfortable; so much so, that I ended up spending almost an hour and a half with the ladies when I only intended to stay for around 15 minutes.
On the menu for the day was many scrumptious treats. For breakfast Patti prepared homemade currant (a small raisin-like fruit) scones with a delicious, fluffy, strawberry Madison crème and fresh brewed hot tea. Patti enjoyed an Apple Nut Crunch flavored tea while Brenda sipped on an Orange Vanilla tea. Although I wasn’t able to stay for lunch, Patti was gracious enough to show me their menu for the day. Very Berry Chilled Soup, Chilled Cucumber soup, Edina salad with yellow squash, zucchini, and red onions, and some beautiful blackberry scones.
Once the ladies had their tea prepared they packed up their scones and strolled down to a seemingly hidden screened in summer house. Patti’s husband Mark had built this little cottage as a “labor of love” Patti told me. It was something she had dreamed of having since she was a child. This is the point where I lost sight of time. It felt as if I were in a dream, the small, cozy cottage was completely open to the elements the breeze was blowing in, and the neighbors donkey was braying in the distance. I listened as the ladies talked of holly hocks, flower gardens, Bible scriptures, and time gone by.
Brenda Luster and Patti Reese met in 2012 when Brenda began studying for her GED. Patti was Brenda’s science teacher, but theladies became instant friends.
“She has been a sweetheart. If she hadn’t helped me I would have chickened out before I finished my GED,” Brenda told me.
“We hit it off right away,” Patti added. After graduation the ladies decided to keep in touch and one of the ways they do this is through their tea parties. Along with chit chat, snacks, and fun, they also spend an hour or so quilting.
Before I left Patti told me, “The best part of hosting these tea parties is the joy of practicing hospitality.” This statement sealed the deal on my thoughts about her having a servant’s heart, and made me smile the rest of the day. Well, that and the Ziploc baggie of scones she sent back to work with me.