Published 12:24 pm Thursday, August 13, 2020

By Beulah Rampage Fishbite
Palavering with Beulah

We had dreamed of it for months.

My sister and I dreamed of sharing a house and creating companionship and enjoying our golden years together.  And now, we were living it.

One of our sweetest dreams was to have a lovely, lacy tea party on the deck overlooking the busy cottage garden she was forever creating. And so it was the day of that wonderful little soiree.

We dug out, laundered and ironed a delightful vintage tablecloth; gathered a refreshing bouquet of matching pink flowers; laid out a pretty set of dessert dishes, tea cups and saucers and matching tea pot – all in coordinating pinks.  There were the linen napkins with tatted trim, polished silver spoons and little forks, and each seat was covered with a white ruffled flounce.  There was a plate of lemon wedges each graced with two whole cloves; we made flavored sugar cubes from rose petals and cinnamon. And rather than make a mess or a mistake we ordered petit fours from a very nice nearby bakery.

All was in order.

The day blossomed in sunshine and a pleasant breeze, birds were singing, it all was so perfect. Our guests arrived in the spirit of the day adorned with hats of unknown vintage and gloves of obvious wear.

Conversation was light and spritely. We talked of our knitting group, our chemo friends, who was going to mah jongg this week and how lovely the cottage garden was this year.

The tea, jasmine today, had steeped long enough and Sister was going to pour. She gently lifted the lid of the teapot to make sure the tea was well steeped – and it was then that the split second moment (those that I live for) took place.

A small flock of birds, I believe starlings, rose in a cacophony from the neighbor’s lawn and flew low over our sweet geriatric tea party. Hats tilted up to observe the fly-by, Sister seemed froze in the moment holding the teapot lid and looking up at the flock of interlopers.

For some reason, I did not look up but found myself watching the teapot – just in time to see a bird dropping land in it, like a perfect target. The lid came down, no one knew but me.

Sister began to pour as our guests discussed the many birds, bird feeders, birdbaths and garden adornments.  She poured us each a cup of tea.

I passed the lemon and sugar cubes with vigor. We all enjoyed the cakes and tea, well most did, I just did not have a taste for tea this day.