honoring our elderly with a pair of poems (+ a special birthday!)

“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~ Ram Dass

“Holding Hands” by Suzanne Summers LaPierre

 

TEA AT JUBILEE MANOR
by Linda Crosfield

Every afternoon at two-fifteen they come,
a procession of chairs and walkers,
or unaided in a slow and ponderous shuffle,
backs hunched against the unkindness of time,
to assemble in the great room for tea.

They enjoy this ritual —
the sturdy cups of Orange Pekoe,
cookies and squares that break up a day,
words exchanged, sometimes even heard,
by folk whose paths might not have crossed before.

It’s a slow dance, led by invisible partners.
It’s the last dance, and they’re saving it
for every afternoon at two-fifteen.

~ Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2011, 2020 Linda Crosfield. All rights reserved.

*

 

“God Bless the Caregivers” by Pami Ciliax-Guthrie

 

Nursing homes have been in the news a lot lately. After all, it was a nursing home — the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington — that first warranted our serious concern about COVID-19’s community spread in the U.S. back in late February.

We learned that the elderly were the most vulnerable, and that many residents as well as caregivers had been lost or were fighting for their lives across the country.

When I stumbled upon this lovely poem by Canadian poet Linda Crosfield recently, I couldn’t help but view it through the lens of the pandemic. The cherished ritual of afternoon tea took on an added poignancy as I thought of those who no longer have the joy of a “last dance” to look forward to.

As it turns out, though, there was a bright spot, a glimmer of hope.

When I contacted Linda to ask for permission to share her poem, she provided a little backstory about it:

I wrote “Tea at Jubilee Manor” when my aunt was living there. It’s a nursing home in Nelson, BC. She died at 102 in 2012. Now my mother is in the same place and she’s turning 100 on June 3rd. Sadly, it won’t be quite the celebration we’d always planned. Can’t see her in person. No hugs. No flowers. Gifts frowned on. But we can send in one of those little airline-sized bottles of gin and some tonic and we will toast her over the fence on the day. 

Now the poem is even more meaningful. Though I was sorry to hear Linda and her family won’t be able to celebrate this landmark birthday in person, I was so relieved that her mom is okay and would indeed be observing a rare milestone next week.

Would you like to meet Daisy? Here she is:

 

Linda’s mother Daisy, the birthday girl!

 

Have you ever seen such a beautiful face, such a wonderful smile? Oh, the people she’s met, the things and places she’s seen, the love she’s shared in 100 years! And she’s given us a poet!

Oh, look — it’s 2:15! In honor of Daisy’s birthday on Wednesday, we’ve set up a little afternoon tea. Please help yourself to some marble cake, dark chocolate pretzels, lemon, oat, and chocolate chip cookies, and of course, a warm cup of Orange Pekoe.

 

 

 

If not for Linda’s poem, our paths might never have crossed. Just as her heartening words suggest, we must follow the lead of our wise elders by rejoicing in simple pleasures and cherishing each moment as it comes, with gratitude that it’s been given.

 

Mr Cornelius wants you to try a Tunnock’s Tea Cake, a special treat from Scotland.

 

There’s much to be said, especially in tough, unpredictable times, about treating each slow dance as your last.

 

 

While you nibble and sip, enjoy this mini gallery of seniors and Samantha Reynolds’s poem, as a way of honoring those we’ve lost, those we’ve found, and those we’ve yet to meet. Not to be forgotten, devalued, discounted or sacrificed, but revered, respected and treasured.

 

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friday feast: ♥ true love in three acts ♥

“You must always be awaggle with love.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

~ With advance apologies to Tea S. Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Brewing and William Shakespour.

*

1. To tart or not to tart, that is the question.

Reasons for not making fruit tarts:

  • Pesky little tart pans
  • Stirring vanilla cream in nippy kitchen
  • Finicky pastry dough
  • Locate pretty fruit in the dead of winter? Oh, come on.

Reasons for making fruit tarts:

  • Len loves them. Cornelius loves them. I love them. What person in their right mind doesn’t love them?
  • It’s Valentine’s Day.
  • Beloved blog readers might be impressed that an adorable a self-sacrificing writer stood in an icy kitchen for hours some minutes stirring, stirring the vanilla cream and whipping finicky pastry dough into shape after walking flying to Chile to pick fresh berries.
  • Good excuse to buy a new tartlet baking set.
The baking set comes with a 12-well non-stick tartlet pan, a dough cutter and a tamper.
Handsome assistant demonstrates use of tamper.

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of rolling pie dough.

*   *   *

Continue reading

friday feast: tea for two and three

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~ Catherine Douzel

Sip and stay awhile.

Happy Poetry Friday!

We’re serving tea and treats today to celebrate National Hot Tea Month. Please help yourself to a cup of PG Tips, Twinings Darjeeling, or Republic of Tea’s Green Rooibos, along with a fruit tart or cupcake. (If you say, “I love poetry” three times, you may have both.)

 

Nothing like a good cup of tea to restore calm and tranquility, to enhance a moment of solitude and sweeten reflection. When shared, this wondrous beverage can engender the most “civilized” of conversations, a call to best behavior even when ennui or disaffection is brewing beneath the surface.

For your sipping pleasure, two poems steeped in the drama of relationships. Each cup a world unto its own with universal truth and the delicious wonderment of “what happens next?”stirred in.

 

IN A BATH TEASHOP
by John Betjeman

“Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another — 
Let us hold hands and look.”
She, such a very ordinary little woman;
He, such a thumping crook;
But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels
In the teashop’s ingle-nook. 

*

“Five O’Clock Tea” by Mary Cassatt (oil on canvas, 1880)

AT TEA
by Thomas Hardy 

The kettle descants in a cosy drone,
And the young wife looks in her husband’s face,
And then at her guest’s, and shows in her own
Her sense that she fills an envied place;
And the visiting lady is all abloom,
And says there was never so sweet a room.

And the happy young housewife does not know
That the woman beside her was first his choice,
Till the fates ordained it could not be so. …
Betraying nothing in look or voice
The guest sits smiling and sips her tea,
And he throws her a stray glance yearningly.

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Oh, what tangled webs we weave . . .

These poetic vignettes contain the seeds for full length novels. Tidy and unobtrusive, these interesting studies in compression invite us to delve and deliberate, teasing our senses. As Henry Fielding once wrote, “Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.” Poetry seems the ideal vessel for such titillating refreshment.

What drama will unfold with your next cup of tea?

♥ Jim is hosting today’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Hey, Jim Hill! Please take him an extra fruit tart and enjoy all the poetic goodies being shared in the blogosphere this week.

This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, which is open to anyone who has a food-related post to share (novel, nonfiction, cookbook, movie reviews, recipes, quotes, random thoughts, etc.).

 

 

“The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose.” ~ George Gissing (The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft)

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Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.