There’s a Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon being hosted on the Gracious Hospitality blog. This week’s theme is Teacup-a-Story. We’re asked to ”share a picture of your favorite teacup and saucer; describe it and tell its history (or make up a story about its past). Why is it meaningful to you? This would be a good place to share about the details of your teacup collection if you have one.”
I thought I’d join in although I don’t have a teacup collection per se. My special teacup given to me by my friend Jo-Ann is the story of a life lesson learned. This little set is English bone china in the Royal Adderley “Mayflower” pattern.
When my first husband and I divorced, I moved home to N.C. from Virginia and bought a house next to Jo-Ann’s in Wilmington. The story of my first marriage isn’t important, but the resulting feelings I had are.
I was afraid of people (men especially) and the few friends I was allowed to have turned out to be a little too “friendly” with my husband; we’ll leave it at that as I’m sure you can read between the lines. The result was that I felt I must be the most horrible woman on the planet—someone who couldn’t keep her husband or friends. My children and I moved into our new home and I went into a form of hiding, going to work, taking care of the kids, and finding solace only in my books late at night when they were asleep.
I bought one of those old-fashioned reel lawnmowers—the kind where the only power source is you pushing it. Since I didn’t even know how to use a screwdriver, I figured it would be best not to mess with any contraption involving potential mechanical fiddling around.
The very first day I was out pushing and pulling that wacky lawnmower up and down my yard. Jo-Ann came out of her house next door, introduced herself, and asked if I’d like to borrow her electric lawnmower. I said thanks but no. Jo-Ann said, “I think you’re crazy, but if you change your mind, just come on over.” I didn’t.
All the neighbors kept coming over offering the use of their lawnmowers but I kept saying no. There’s another story in all this but, essentially, Jo-Ann and everyone in our neighborhood drew me out of my isolated life. Over time, I learned to relax and trust people again.
Jo-Ann, Donna (who sent me the flowers the other day), and my special friend Denny who died last year at my birthday all helped me learn the skills I needed to survive as a single mother. And they taught me what true friendship means.
One day after her mother died, Jo-Ann gifted me with a teacup and saucer from her mother’s collection. She said that she knew I would respect and honor this special treasure and that maybe it would remind me to care as much for myself.
Today I’m using Jo-Ann’s gift and treating myself to tea and one of the Strawberry Meringue Cookies I made this morning (recipe from Southern Lady magazine, March/April 2008 issue). I am now happily married to a wonderful and trustworthy man, blessed with happy and healthy grown children, and I’m honored to have friends I can trust. My life is full of genuine and honest love; I am very grateful.
And that’s my teacup story.