At Christmas time we all flew into Minnesota to spend time with our families. And every time I’m in the St. Paul area I always, always, always go to my Aunt Becky’s tea shop. (Avalon Tea Room.) Usually my Mother-in-Law and I manage to sneak away from all the men in our lives and have a quiet lunch of delicious quiche, light scones and a selection of tea that is second to none.
This year I came away with 6 different teas to enjoy in the comfort of my own home. And I have been enjoying them.
I also came home with two delicate tea cups that Mom had chosen for me while cleaning out my Aunt Noma’s Chicago apartment. These were tea cups that had come from my grandmother when we’d sold her house and divided up the property among her 5 daughters. They are beautiful Queen Anne Regency patterns that scream dainty – genteel – English. I can see Mr. Darcy sipping tea from these cups. (The Colin Firth Mr. Darcy, all others are imitations.)
There is something incredibly soothing and satisfying about drinking the teas from Aunt Becky’s shop in cups that were used by Aunt Noma and Grandma and handed down to me by my mother. Like drinking in nostalgia.
I am finding a joy in dainty things where I never had before.
The delicateness; the fragility of the thin bone china cup. The way the handle fits my fingers and balances the weight of the tea in a way that is effortless and impossible. It’s the cup of a lady. It is the cup of my ancestors.
I am comforted. I feel the hands of the women in my family who have held these cups and sipped gently from them.
And I, who live 1600 miles from my entire family, suddenly do not feel so separated from them.