Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tea on Tasha's Porch

I have been out in our sugar bush, tapping our trees and hauling in sap with our team of oxen. One year, after my family had finished with making maple syrup, I visited Tasha. Usually, I had to visit during January or February because those are the two months when fruit farmers have more free time. So I had never been to Corgi Cottage in March. Snow still lingered everywhere, but much of it had melted and the small creek that meandered near Tasha's driveway rushed by the birch and hemlock trees.
  Michigan sugars about two to three weeks before Vermont, so on the highway out towards Tasha's buckets hung from numerous maples.

As usual, Tasha had told stories, we had inhaled the wonders of her green house, and I had viewed some of her "new" 1830's gowns that she had acquired. She also had a new loom warped with red and white check wool and was weaving fabric to sew into a shirt for Tom.

Tasha and her daughter-in-law had just bought a new pink luster tea set that Tasha had "sniffed" out. They had driven off to another small town in Vermont where over the past hundred plus years, one family had owned the set that Tasha brought home. I knew nothing about pink luster china, so Tasha found me some articles about how potters use a red clay for the china and paint it with a gold glaze.

One afternoon was particularly fine, and in true Tasha style, she suggested that we have tea on her porch. She had baked these wonderful little cakes and brought out this set of pink luster. During tea, I told how as a young child, I wanted to have a tea party. My small china tea set was stored on a shelf in my closet. Being short, I decided to set a box on a chair so that I could reach my tea set. But when I climbed on it and grasped my set, everything came crashing down. Broken china littered the floor. Not even one cup or saucer survived. I mourned that tea set all of my life.

Tasha disappeared and returned with a pink luster cup and saucer. "Perhaps this would suit you, don't you think?"

"Thank you!" I marveled at the gift. "It is beautiful!"

"Of course, you will have to wrap everything very well, but I will show you how."


"My dear, I am giving you the complete set. To replace the one you broke."

I laid my head on her porch table and wept. And then I hugged her for mending a void that only she had understood. Tasha often said, "A woman can never have too much china" and enjoyed hearing about my antique china.

To this day, I am overwhelmed by Tasha's generosity both with my marvelous pink luster tea set, and her willingness to mentor and encourage me as an author.


  1. What a lovely memory you have shared. Thank you! And to be reminded each time you sip from the cups!

  2. Dear Joan,

    How tragic the loss of your childhood tea set was! How insightful of Tasha to give you the tea set and what delightful remembrances you must have each time you use the comforting tea set and think of how she inspired you in your writing!

    Your friends,
    Diane and daughter Sarah and the goats and corgyn at Corgyncombe Cottage

  3. Thank you, Diane and Sarah,
    Tasha had that ability to see into my heart and give it joy. I love my tea set and think of Tasha every day. And I am so grateful that she encouraged me to take my writing gifts seriously and to never give up, no matter how many rejections arrive in the mail. Yours, Joan

  4. Joan, What a delightful memory! Thank you for sharing this wonderful giving side of Tasha with us.