I'd read about it -- mostly in Jane Austen novels -- seen advertisements for it -- and decided to give it a try. I am talking about high tea. And even better - high tea at the inn where Hubby and I were married. So I extended and invitation to the ladies in my life - MIH, little sister, T and Doris to join me for what I hoped would be the perfect Christmas starter.
It did not disappoint. The inn was decked out in full Christmas finery with a towering tree drooping with gold and cream balls and sparkling ribbon. A fire was blazing in the massive stone fireplace and I was thrilled when the server motioned to the table poised beside it. Christmas card perfect!
We nibbled on dainty little cucumber sandwiches and I resisted the urge to belt out "where's the beef" (remembering that it was "tea" not lunch). There were lots of "mmmm's" and "yuuuummmm's" as we munched on cinnamon scones, fresh strawberries, shiny little cakes and slightly dried out sandwiches, washed down with potfuls of tea (and coffee). The chatter was light and we exchanged pleasantries and asked about one another's kids, husbands and family. We critiqued the latest entertainment news and talked about our jobs, schedules and plans. We sipped lazily, luxuriating in this little snippet of time we carved out for ourselves for no other reason than simply "to be".
From my cushioned place at the round table, I studied the faces of these women I love so very much, each for different reasons. I marvelled at my good fortune to have them in my life, and knowing that life can be unpredictable and unforgiving, I burned the image into my heart and soul ... as a keepsake. For at that moment - on that day, the table was full, and our hearts were happy.