Friday, June 25, 2010


In these first few days of young Summer, the whole world seems to be ripening and swelling and leaping ahead of the hours of the days.

The sunshine lasts far into what seems night, for we’ve been settling into the evenings before eight, having our dinners indoors for escape from the humid heat. We usually have our dinners on trays with a TIVO of something from last night, or even from before the children arrived for their visit. After dinner, dessert, the close of whatever innocuous thing we're trying to concentrate on, our eyes stagger to the window, still framed in the bright day toward the West, and we're astounded it's not midnight. Our pace most usually resembles this:

After the scurry of the days with our little one, evenings take a long time for that breath of relaxing, of settling in, of letting down our watch after the days running after, of the total BEING THERE in these little moments---for transition into the time it takes to deprogram our minds and hearts from the great responsibility and the great honor of this trust.

This morning, despite the days of dishes in the sink---testament to the call of the cooler outdoors lately---we stayed OUT. We wandered the yard, inspected the garden, pulled a few tee-ninecy trees from the immense forest of maples encroaching amongst what MIGHT be the flowers we planted. It’s hard to see the teensy roundnesses of wee leaves amongst that hardy, hearty crewcut of GRASS which is beginning to carpet the garden. That rain must have been RogAINe for grass.

And we finished our yesterday’s task---we tied the last ribbon, we climbed the ladder and found stems and nubs suitable for the hanging, and we completed our “TREECUP TREE.”

It’s a little bit gaudy, a little bit sentimental, and a whole lot US in the layout and the making, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I think. There are strings of old ONE OF cups, and a small slender white single-pot dangles side-by with a chubby short green model, cheery with apples, whose lid and matching cup hang a-dangle like a china Calder.

It was our fun of the last couple of days, that cup-tree---poking through shelves and cabinets for likely additions, choosing the weary and the worn, the precious and the chipped, the bright happy sheen of the Tiffany cups (my very first purchase at a Thrift Shop when we moved here twenty years ago). The big, unmistakable blue box had a promising heft, and and the no-rattle shake of good packing. The sticker on the box lid read $10.00.

I’d looked at the price twice as I opened its treasures---six lovely satiny dessert plates, in a blue floral pattern with cups and saucers to match. Two pieces of paper in the bottom of the box were provenance and history: A card “to Susan and Matt, with our best wishes” and a Tiffany sales ticket, hand-written, enumerating the eighteen pieces, from the 70’s, with a price of $108-and-tax.

And now the six cups swing from Tiffany blue grosgrain at varying heights in the Treecup Tree---our morning well spent, our Little One and Caro and I, tying various ribbons and bows and choosing spots and limbs and angles for best effect.

This morning, I’ve been humming a song I’d almost forgotten---a sweet, sentimental Mancini, almost lost to memory in the wake of Moon River. It was nominated for an Academy Award in its own time, and I was astounded to remember every word, as I sang softly whilst climbing the ladder, tying the bows, helping busy small hands with their own tasks.

It’s called The Sweetheart Tree, and our day's occupation caused me to keep singing, “Come alonnnnng with MEEEEE, to the TREEEEE-CUP Tree . . .”

A one-of-a-kind Mammaw cup:

The blues with that famous blue ribbon:

We’ve been smiling all day, just thinking of our creation; Our Girl made sure to invite the neighbors over to see it, and led everyone out for a look, as they came into the yard, or just passed by out front.

Of COURSE it began as a Tea-Cup Tree---what else? But the name was changed so charmingly, so sweetly, that it’s going to be permanent. Some of the most wonderful names of things and people came from the sweet, innocent words of children.
I certainly think so,


Chesapeake said...

Love the idea for the tree. Such a wonderful thing to do the the girl. She will have such memories of this time of her life.

Kim Shook said...

Utterly charming! What a lovely job the three of you did. I want to echo Chesapeake - you are building such amazing memories for your little one. It's a cliché, but a true one, that dishes can wait - the magical times with her Ganjin will give her the best foundation that a child can have. I wish you'd been my Ganjin and I hope I can be such a one if I get the chance.

Indy Cookie said...

I wish we were neighbors in more than name so I, too, could sit under the "treecup tree"! This post brings back memories of my Mamaw who loving spent time making all manner of things with her grands.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

How pretty your teacup tree is~ Thanks for your sweet visit to my table this week!

Tonja said...

I love it! I really do!
I know you know what you are doing to the child. Because you are very wise. I see it, as well. You are giving her the delight of seeing the unexpected. You are giving her the gift of thinking, and planning, and doing. You are teaching her the value of whimsy. And, teaching her that life shouldn't always be serious. I don't think our Father ever intended it to be. He wants us to laugh and play and dance in the garden....even under the tree cup tree.

I'm so glad I know you!

L Vanel said...

What a nice idea.

Bev said...

wild,crazy and very cool!!!!

Southern Lady said...

What a sweet and magical world you are creating for your Little One, Rachel ... a world of Lawn Teas, Fairy Houses, and "Tree Cup" trees. A world where her imagination and creativity are stimulated every moment she is with you ... and a world where she is wrapped in your love, all warm and fuzzy and secure.

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

It looks beautiful and magical. What a memory you've created! I think I might start looking in my back yard for my very own tree-cup tree. (I'm not sure I'd have the strength to put anything as beautiful as your Tiffany cups in it, though).
This is a great idea for my secret garden!
Patricia :o)