Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tea Party

Every year one of the groups which utilizes my senior center throws us a party. Officially, they are known as the Transatlantic Brides and Parental Association. We lovingly refer to them as "The British Wives". These are women born in England who married American servicemen and range in age from 25 to 86. There are branches of this association throughout the United States but I believe our local branch is about 30 years old.

Anyway, every December they have a Christmas Tea with my seniors and I as their invited guests. I love this event for two reasons: it's nice to see the groups mixing together to enjoy foods native to England...and I don't have to clean the kitchen. :) It's been an interesting event, which has allowed me to sample things I've always wondered about...and to draw some definite conclusions. Sausage rolls...great. Trifle...fantastic! Christmas cake...too sweet. Yorkshire pudding...um, not a fan. I always invite Mom as my guest because she loves tea. When I was a kid we lived across the street from a couple in the Air Force. The wife was British and her parents lived with them. The grandmother always complimented Mom on drinking her tea the "proper" way with milk and sugar.

This year's highlight was a Fashion Show...for the imaginative. I took pictures and if any translate well, I'll post them later. Just think like this: the "Afternoon Tea skirt" featured about 50 tea bags sewn to the skirt, while the "Double Breasted Suit" had um...cleavage in front and back. You get the idea. We sang Christmas carols and for the first time in 15 years, not one Brit requested "I'll Be Home for Christmas", which I referred to as our annual weep fest. I even put tissues out ahead of time. Then door prize tickets were passed out and the numbers drawn randomly. I'm one of those folks who never wins anything.

Yep, I won. And what a fitting prize.

I am now the proud owner of a new Christmas tree ornament: a shiny red, doubledecker bus with "London" emblazoned on the side.

I don't know who smiled more: me for having a new story for the Christmas tree or the British Wives as they looked on, somewhat amazed, at my happy reaction to their gift. You see, the Tea Ladies often worry about giving gifts from home, concerned that an "American" winner will just not be as appreciative of their culture. Or as one lady put it last year, "Will they even know what to do with Tea Biscuits?"

Yep. And the ornament now hangs happily on my tree, reminding me that our friends come from the most unexpected, and appreciated, places.


Susan said...

I feel the same about Yorkshire Pudding, and am very glad for you that nobody brought kidney pie (bleeech) or Marmite (triple-BLEUCH)

And oh, I can't come NEAR I'll Be Home For Christmas--I have enough trouble getting past that eejit Harry Bailey lifting his glass at the end of It's A Wonderful Life without drowning myself.

It sounds like a wonderful time! Congratulations on your bus!

Rachel Fox said...

You don't like Yorkshire puddings! You must have had rubbish ones...food of the gods!

Radge said...

At least they kept you away from porridge.

hope said...

For me Susan, it's the bell ringing on the tree. Sigh.

Rachel, it is possible the chef was the culprit. I tried it a couple of years in a row...but it might've been the same chef.

Radge, porridge probably only belongs in fairy tales. :)

Dave King said...

I understand your glee, but not our obsession with buses to represent Brit culture - damn it all, it was all we could think of for the Olympics!

shug said...

Tea biscuits, milky tea and double decker buses. It's true- the sad old English don't really have a culture.

hope said...

Dave, it was better than an ornament of Queen Elizabeth. :)

Shug will now give us all three fine examples representing Scotland...properly. ;)

the broken down barman said...

sorry ive not been able to read and commenrt on yer last couple of blogs. been of line 4 a while. hope yer ok and not worried bout me!!!! hope that dosent sound big headed!!! will be back 2 normal soon. love the not quite as broken down as before barman.

p.s. uve been a great help in myh recovery. this was on a simple minds album, but it makes me think of u...hope i got it right!!!!!

out there in the darkness,
out there in the night,
one soul shines brighter than a million suns