Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Four hundred posts since that November day in 2008 when I sent that first tentative post out into the unknown air. And the welcome and the friendships and all the wonderful comments and the replies and the e-mails have been wonderful. I’ve seen places and learned about things and places and people that I would never have encountered, and I’ve enjoyed all the travels and new sights and sounds SO much.

What I’ve had to share in return is mostly family stuff, almost all SOUTHERN, and all just written down and put out there. And the comments have been so kind, and so complimentary---one theme runs through most of all: “You just make me SEE what’s happening.” “Your words convey every feeling and every color of the party/day/morning/ trip/visit.” “You make the most ordinary things sound exciting and beautiful.” Such lovely things to say, and I appreciate each and every word.

And my favorite, “You could make a stone sound gracious.” What a lovely thought, and would that I could. I DO love gracious, beautiful moments; the loveliest times are sometimes unexpected, and some of the most fulfilling are ARE hard work, but SO worth all the effort, the polishing, the smoothing, the arranging JUST SO.

I love the simple grace of the preparations---a stack of pretty plates, a cuddle of shining old mis-matched spoons:

Dessert with a few friends:

A sunny Spring morning with First Cup:

A warm Autumn table, awaiting guests:

Preparations for a Lawn Tea---Fruit Bowl, carved by Caro:

Cocktail Rollups---Jalapeno Spread on Tomato Tortillas; Veggie Spread on Spinach ones:

Just-Baked Lemon Chess Squares:

Sometimes we go splurge on some DECADENCE at a bakery:

Several days' work for an evening tea for about twenty friends:

And then, when I start to tell about them, I get caught up in all the magic of the fun and good times, and enjoying their enjoyment---I get carried away with the telling, and use more words than pictures. The words ARE flowery and sometimes too much, but they’re always true, even if they embellish more than I should---yesterday’s tea party for example.

Our Baby Girl spent the day mostly outdoors---we did a lot of walking, waving hello and stopping to speak to neighbors as they worked in their yards, walked their dogs, sat in the sunshine on their freshly-furbished porches, all set out and decorated for Spring.

Then Sweetpea said “Tea Party---I want to have a Tea Party!” She carried her small yellow chair into the patio sun, scooted one of "her" handy little tables over to it, and she was ready. She also shouted an invitation through the fence to our Dear Neighbor, and she said she’d be right over.

I came in and took down the Apple-Green enamel teapot, Chris’ morning favorite, and the lovely variegated tea cozy crocheted by Dear Neighbor, herself. A pink table covering, pink floral napkins, two Limoges cups with flowers, some dainty small crisp cookies, a scoop of the lovely Black Tea/Oolong mixture DDIL had given me for Christmas. Kettle just on the boil, a quick pour, all the lovely tea things up and out the door, table set, and we sat down.

We poured and sipped in the sunshine of the patio, nibbling a cookie or two, as our little one sat in her small chair, sipping from her cup, getting up to run down the sidewalk or take a turn on her trike. We spoke of garden plans, of seeds a-waiting in the basket, of trimming a few things of their Winter’s shagginess, of how the herbs are sprouting up again, and of the fencerow’s pale greening.

Now, THAT sounds gracious and charming, I think---I'd like to go to that party, myself. And it’s the truth, every word, as it happened.
Also, as it happened, the fact that we have had rain for what seems like the proverbial forty days, the back yard is solid mud, with the expectant little grass trying to get a foothold in the swampy ground, the patio still has Winter stuff lying around, the Adirondacks have been brought from the storage shed, but not set up, and thus have become the repository for whatever needs setting down.

And the view from our tea-table was not of lovely landscapes, to say the least---old Snow-Gobbler, ready for a nice Summer in the storage shed, and the downstairs carpet, just delivered:

The usual tea table is scooched up under the big iron table on the patio, only one real lawn chair has been set out, and I was trying to run in, get downstairs, put on the kettle, get tea things set out, get FuzzyPup to stay in OR out as I went, and lure Baby Girl IN with me each time I came in the door. She was giddy with the weather, and was having none of that coming-in stuff, and so I grabbed anything that could be stashed in a little grocery sack---pink napkins, two teacups, sippy cup, a bag of Nutter-Butters and a spoon in the sack on one arm, teapot-in-cozy in the other hand, ushering a tiny girl up the stairs and out the heavy back door, and we “set” the table.

When Neighbor arrived, I ran back in the sitting room and grabbed up one of the only portable chairs upstairs---a nice parlor one from the sitting room, and went back out.

We DID sip, and we DID chat, amongst the chaos of the patio like an island in the mud, and we had a lovely time.

This was our setting, exactly as I described above---cloth, napkins, cups, cozy and pot. Note the charming engraving on the side of the "table" and the lovely serving piece holding the cookies:

And this---our tablescape, arranged mostly by a very small hostess, who was just tickled even more pink with her accomplishment:

And the spoon---I forgot the spoon---it was not mere Sheffield or Revere---Oh, no. THIS occasion called for something SPECIAL. It was a red one, the best that Dairy Queen can offer. I wish you all could have been here.

And thank you for being here through all these interminable, flowery, wordy, from-the-heart posts!! Every day feels like a gathering of Dear Friends.


Maggie McArthurm said...

Dear Rachel --
Thank you for every lovely post, every photograph, every invitation to a tea party or a luncheon, every introduction to an indelible character I've never met. I love your world.

racheld said...

Thank you Maggie M'Dear!! I find it quite nice that you were first, as you were mentioned in the very first post.

And I love your bright, cheery, amazingly erudite, supremely gifted one.

Jeanne said...

Dear Rachel, your post today is lovely and a very nice 400th post. It is a milestone in blogging. I started blogging in May 2008. I am pushing 650 posts. Quite shocking to realize I have written and shared so many posts. A fine journal of my life as I live it. That is why I so love your lovely written text. It is much more than a 'post' is a journal of your daily life. Today your photos are precious. I think the engraved table is the sweetest tea setting ever. BIG smile. I bet those cookies never tasted so good before. You are the best grandma there is out there. Leaving wonderful memories for your sweet grand to hold dear.

I am in Kissimmee, FL visiting my other daughter and my grands. I still have that wedding to attend on Sunday in West Palm Beach. Then 'home' on Monday. My computer time has suffered in a major way these past two weeks.

Enjoy your day and sincere congratulations on 400 posts.

Hugs xoxo, Jeanne

Keetha said...

Congratulations on your 400th post! I'm so glad to have made your acquaintance; I always look forward to visiting.

I'd love to join you in that gorgeous sun room for a nice cup of coffee!

Southern Lady said...

Thank you, dear Rachel, for brightening our days and enriching our lives by sharing with us your God-given talent of putting words to paper in a such a glorious way that never fails to entertain, inspire, and touch our hearts.

How fitting that you would celebrate this milestone with a story about a precious tea party with your little one.

I'm so glad you "made it to the party," Rachel. I truly bless the day I discovered your heartwarming and gracious "gatherings."

P.S. -- I posted this yesterday but it didn't show up for some reason.

Indy Cookie said...

Dearest Rachel,
Your words paint masterpieces of glorious color! How blessed we are that you've chosen to share your world - I know that my world is a kinder, gentler place because you stop in to visit from time to time.
God Bless you and yours - I am so looking forward to the next 400!

Tonja said...

My friend, I count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to expand my mind...and heart...everytime I read your posts! You fill my mind with such wonderful words,words that are not commonly used by most...but beautiful, exciting words nonetheless. I love to read them and then roll them around in my mouth, and then try to use the new ones as I have the chance.

I think, if I lived closer to you, that you would be a friend I would love to spend time with as often as possible. And, I am sure that every visit would be delightful!

You have made my world brighter, yummier, and
happier. You kind and thoughtful replys to my posts are eagerly awaited. You are indeed an encourager, as well!

Your talent overwhelms me. Here's to being overwhelmed 400 more times!!!


Kim Shook said...

I love that you told the story (all Rachel'd up) and then showed the REAL. And the thing is, with your gift for occasion and your gracious and generous spirit, the REAL was every bit as charming as the story.

Val said...

What a beautiful spirit you have. Lovely little party too. :)