Taking time and tea

I have the pleasure of being part of a small group of friends and writers who gather for tea every two or three months.  On a Saturday afternoon, we share what's going on in our corner of the world, drink lots of tea (read: caffeine), and eat quiche.  

Tea time usually begins at 2:00 in the afternoon and sometimes go until well after the sun has set.  It makes me so happy when friends stay late.  We talk and talk and talk some more.  

What do we do for all that time?  We do writing exercises.  We make vision boards.  We delve into personal dilemmas and use the collective advice of the quiche coven to help each other.  Most of all, we share laughter, tears, and everything in between.  

The lunch part is usually simple, with homemade quiche and some kind of dessert -- except for the time I served a 5-lb roast chicken with all the fixings of a Thanksgiving dinner.  (We get huge chickens from a local CSA farm.)  

Then there was the time we discovered one of our members had never had a fluffernutter sandwich.  We intended to rectify the glaring omission in her culinary experience at the next tea, but we never did.  In addition to fluffernutters, the  next gathering's menu also included brownies and when someone said "eat dessert first" we listened to her.  As the peanut butter sat unopened on the kitchen counter, I plunked fresh-from-the-oven brownie squares onto my grandmother's pressed-glass luncheon plates and turned each square into a miniature Mt. Everest with a heaping spoonful or two of pure white fluff.  And we brewed more tea to counteract the imminent sugar crash.

Just yesterday, we had our New Year's tea and went through three pots of PG Tips among the three of us.  One friend stayed until 7:00.  It was fabulous!

I find a lot of joy in the hours we sit around the dining room table because tea time is not about the food or how perfect or not our house is.  It's not even about the food or (gasp!) the tea.

For me, it's about the time we spend together.  It's about finding moments when we can slow down our hectic schedules long enough to connect with each other face-to-face.  

My hours are pretty well filled up but living well isn't about having a packed schedule.  Living well is about how and with whom I spend the hours I'm given -- finding joy in doing something fun instead of always working. Like spending a Saturday afternoon with friends or eating dessert first. 

Discarded writing prompts strewn among remains of the tea, Dec. 13, 2014.