Every Mother’s Day, Gentle Reader, the family gathers to take tea at local landmark, the Meeker Mansion.
Maman, my Aunt Elaine, Cousin Michael and I – sometimes some of Elaine’s cousins as well – the butler seats us in the tall-windowed tower dining room; the lace spread out on the table, the porcelain set just so. A flock of maids in period uniforms attend each table, pouring tea, carrying trays of dainty sandwiches.
Something about the Victorian charm rubs off on us, and we take on an elevated gentility. There’s something so civilized about taking tea in refined locations, something that brings out the best in us, something restful for the soul.
Of course, being us, we take the time to honor our foremothers who’ve passed on. There’s a bittersweet beauty about it – an ache that can’t be salved, but leaves a smile on the lips. Delicate and acrid, like the scent of jasmine tea.
After luncheon, those of us who can manage the stairs take a turn about the old mansion, marveling at the antique decor, the pilasters and balustrades, the glass case full of artifacts the Meekers left behind. We’ve watched with keen interest, over the years, the restoration of the billiard-room ceiling, slowly being stripped of layers of paint, the original fresco being restored.
Sometimes, on these golden afternoons, we’ll all take a stroll through the grounds. Heirloom roses, a little leggy, nod as we pass by; fat and lazy bumblebees zip hither and yon. Elegant and rambling, gone a little to seed, we wander down the gravelled paths, pensive, soaking up the warmth of spring.
Mother’s Day Tea this year will be only a few days after Aunt Elaine’s fiftieth birthday, and a week after my thirtieth. Michael turned sixteen this spring, and Maman turns sixty this fall. It’s a landmark year for us, and while not all of our loved ones are still alive to gather together, it’s important to maintain family bonds.
I hope that your mother’s Day traditions are equally pleasant, Gentle Reader. Whether you take lunch, take tea, or take a trip to visit the cemetery, I wish you joy this Mother’s Day.