After years of hearing my California cousins talk about the "Mother's Day Tea", the year 2012 was the first time I was ever able to attend. This is the front of the hand-made invitation, and I felt very fortunate to receive it. The inside had a poem that started out telling of of how the tea started with seven mothers (all related): "19 years have come and gone, many hats and gloves we don. Jewels and gowns, parasols of pink, countless cups of tea we drink."
The invitation sent out in 2011 was equally enticing, with these instructions: "Shine your fancy shoes...Unlock your jewels...Dust off your Sunday shoes and hat...Unfurl your parasol..." I liked the elegant touch of having a little bell at each place setting, so that we could jingle it when we needed a tea refill!
This is a photo of my sister and I, as we both experience our first "California Tea Party" gathering.
The invitation suggested each person bring a supply of little gifts (could not cost over one dollar each) that would be distributed to each attendee. The little hand towel that I took for guests is shown in this photo, as well as a glass candle holder, and scroll of a Mother's Day poem.
One of my cousins took a pair of flip flops to give to each attendee. Knowing that many of the guests would have on their fancy high heels, the thinking was that the flip flops could be worn when the need for comfort overtook the need for a stylish appearance!
My cousin has a picture-perfect back yard to host outdoor parties, as you can see in this photograph. With the somewhat mild climate of the San Francisco Bay area where she lives, her family is able to enjoy this setting almost year round. I have been there on some big Thanksgiving get-togethers in November, and was amazed to be having my turkey and dressing sitting outside, in beautiful weather!
My cousin Linda is the original hostess that started the tradition twenty years ago. She is shown here surrounded by some of the colorful shopping bags that were part of the Mother's Day "booty" for attendees.
Linda's daughter, April, is shown here, surrounded by yellow blossoms that match her yellow hat, floral-print dress, yellow flower earrings, and even her yellow fingernail polish!
It takes a lot of tea cups to keep this group stimulated, so Linda's husband, Ron, and April's husband, Matt, stayed busy in the kitchen washing and drying tea cups, as well as brewing dozens of pots of tea!
Looking out over the forested mountains, filled with orchards and vineyards, it is easy to see why famous conservationist John Muir chose this area as his residence.
Near the end of the tea party, host Ron, had all his helpers come out to take a bow, and receive a round of applause from the grateful mothers they had honored. Ron said the event was his gift to his wife, because in his words, "It is a gift his bride cannot return to the store, and he does not have to be concerned about whether or not it will fit!"
These young family members worked tirelessly carrying around their trays of cream puffs and bowls of fruit, to serve their elders!
The guys in the kitchen stayed busy whipping up their delicious fresh strawberry "smoothies", much to the delight of all those present. Cousin Debbie must have planned her outfit to match the red of the beverages!
No one could leave until we had gathered for a group photo. Linda's daughter, Monica, did a great job of fitting everyone into the shot!
As the crowd dwindled down when the party was over, someone pointed out the prevalence of red shoes, so I had to take a photo! They are a colorful illustration of Isaiah 52:7 that says "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation...." And that is my prayer for each of the mothers represented at the tea---good news, peace, good tidings, salvation, and MILES OF SMILES! Tricia