The following is a response to THIS writing assignment
I call them my Tea Ladies. We meet regularly. We never know how many of us will be there but usually there are at least eight of us. Tea is the beverage of choice. Regular lunch fare or dainty little tidbits, depending on the time of day, accompanies the tea. Depending on previous arrangements from the last time we met, we might meet at the Country Club, at a restaurant, or someone's home or garden.
D, 89 is the oldest; she is a retired Air Force Nurse... she is still married to the same man, a poet, younger than she is by 11 years. She had seizures while she was in the service and was given a lobotomy which was the method of treatment back then. She was discharged early as a result. Most of the time she appears kind of lost but she is functional. She has vicious moments, but never yet in our presence. She is the sweetest Southern lady in existence with the usual "I declares" and "Bless your hearts" peppering her speech patterns. Our conversations are also interrupted with startling moments when she'd throw in non-topic comments and we must all stop to figure out what she means, knowing full well that one side of her brain must have malfunctioned once again. She always comes to our teas dressed in the most playful outfits she can find from her adored QVC channel; outfits that she always tops off with a whimsical hat that she matches with her fancy beaded purses and "grandma shoes" or chunky boots over colorful lace tights.
H 86, is English. She's a tiny pocket-sized woman, the loveliest woman in the group. She can get any man she wants, she's like a guy magnet. She looks like the proverbial English rose, she's absolutely gorgeous with a perfect English complexion and that English accent that lures them like pure honey. Her first husband died of cancer, the second died in an accident and her third husband died of pneumonia. She'll probably find another one soon. There's a lot of guys circling around like bees already.
R 86, is Hungarian, the richest in the bunch. Her husband left her well off, a millionaire on her own right, but you can't tell by the way she lives. She knows the value of a penny. She is the one who will bring a plate of devilled eggs to the church supper because it is the cheapest thing to make, instead of a casserole which would require meat, you know? She cuts/ colors her own hair, does her own manicure/ pedicure, lawnwork, etc. because it's cheaper to do it herself. She has OCD tendencies, she vacuums and wipes down her counters everyday because her 2 cats shed miserably, she rakes every single leaf in her yard religiously day in and day out, when the weather permits...Even without the help of a housekeeper, her house is immaculate, full of antiques and precious artwork. She promised her granddaughter $100.000 if she'd get married and give her a grandbaby. That's a story in its self that I might tell you sometime.
Vi is Polish, she is in Italy right now visiting her daughter. Another avid gardener, she has strong roots, which she encourages by researching her family background as much as she can and she lovingly passes their traditions down to her daughter. She loves to cook, cans her own vegetables, makes her own pasta and tries new recipes. She challenges everyone to be more green and more self-reliant. She only dresses in designer clothes but she buys all her clothes from the local thrift shops ... she finds the BEST clothes there!
B is American-Scots, H's daughter-in law. She sometimes comes to our teas, when she has time. She is a strong, spiritual woman who have survived a lot of family turmoil. Her love for her family is evident in all she does. Her home and gardens are an amazing testament to her strength and vision.
J is Italian. She moved here from Chicago, bought a house, after her husband died 5 years ago. She just spent a month in Hawaii right after Christmas. Sadly, her new boyfriend died on her last month right after her return from Hawaii. She's another avid gardener and she's ready to attack her huge gardens with a vengeance. The local paper featured her gardens not too long ago.
S is Chinese. She is new to the group and is still trying to fit in. Her accent is still very strong and she is hard to understand. Trying to decipher her pronouncements is usually a big part of our chaotic conversations. (Throw in some of D's comments into the fray and you might as well take your dinner napkin and cover your face while you giggle senseless under the table.) Her husband is gone a lot so she watches numerous Chinese Soaps all day! Oh... she makes THE best eggrolls in the world... even better than mine, and that's saying a lot.
M is Mexican. She is loud in manners, in apparel, and in voice. She loves to dress in colorful crocheted clothes, ruffled skirts, and eye-catching ornaments on her lovely dark hair. Her voice carries over everything like soft thunder. She is very self-assured and takes charge easily. She LOVES to square dance and belongs to a square dancing group that performs publicly around the county. Imagine her on a hayrack being pulled by a semi, in a 4th of July parade, dancing away, never missing a step. That's our M! She is one hot Mama, married to a young handsome Romeo of a man.
A is the blonde European with the beautiful smile. She is a big woman, single, and quiet. She is also fairly new to the group and we are still in the process of learning about her. She calls herself a church-hopper... she does not mind attending services in more than one church. She is open hearted that way. She insist she does not want another man but the Girls are always trying to find her a new interest as they try to lure her into more church activities and single happenings outside of our tea parties.
E is an Indian Peacemaker. She is the one who probably feels more comfortable in Taos, in the desert than in the city... she gardens and she knows about herbs and birds and animals and insects and mushrooms and crystals and things. She is connected to the earth and usually offers a thorough prayer to God in thanksgiving before we can have tea!
Ve, is another recent addition, a Filipina like me. She just lost her husband a year ago. She is a cancer survivor, strong, opinionated, loud, brash, salt of the Earth, my best friend. The group asked me to start bringing her to our teas. She rattled a few ears the first time she came and started her no-holds barred use of the Queen's language (imagine D, with her dainty fingers across her lips, eyes wide open, gasping for breath after Ve said, "oh, Shit... whatcha drinking that for?"). She's been a riot and the Girls miss her if she does not show up!
As you can see, we're like a small United Nations. I don't know how we found each other like this, so different from each other and from so many varied backgrounds... but we enjoy our differences and our silliness together. I love my Tea Ladies to pieces.