Day 295: Tea Time with Mimi Leta’s Vintage Teacup

Mimis thistle teacup late tea 2

Today’s first involved a very late tea time with fresh biscuits courtesy of Cracker Barrel. With a pat of butter and blackberry jam added to the hot biscuits, this simple tea was an easy delicious dinner. What made this one special was the use, for the first time, of a vintage teacup from the collection of Leta Moore.

Greg’s mom, Leta Mae Davidson Moore, introduced me to the joy of drinking hot tea years ago, when I was a young woman in my late teens. She favored tea over coffee and would prepare both of us a cup of the fragrant hot drink with a dollop of milk added. We would sit in her homey kitchen and sip tea and chat. Her grandparents, George Davidson and Sarah Pearson Davidson, were originally from England, and settled in the Wichita, KS area. It makes so much sense to me now. I expect the custom of tea time was handed down in her family, from those English grandparents. I don’t know for sure. Mimi Leta, as my children affectionately called her, passed away 15 years ago. Unfortunately, I never asked her how she acquired her love for hot tea, I simply enjoyed the treat with her.

Mimi Leta collected teacups and saucers. Family and friends knew about her love for tea time and frequently added to her collection. I’ve stood many times and looked at the teacups and saucers on display still in her home. Recently, after my return from Scotland, Greg’s dad allowed me to select several sets to bring home, to use with my own tea time.

As I slowly studied the collection, a teacup and saucer caught my attention. I couldn’t believe I had never noticed this one before! Because of my days spent in Scotland, and my raised awareness of all things Scottish, I spied a delicate teacup and saucer set covered with thistle, the national flower of Scotland! Holding the cup carefully, I knew I had found the set that was destined to become mine.

Mimis thistle teacup

I googled the stamp found on the bottom of the cup. The set was made by Aynsley, a china company in Staffordshire, England, that has been creating fine bone china since 1775. Called, appropriately, the Thistle Pattern, this design is from 1951 and is no longer available. I don’t know if Leta bought this cup and saucer set herself, or if it was a gift. I will cherish it.

I have been saving the set, to use as a first experience. I chose to enjoy the teacup this evening. Because of the gold gilding, I will never place this bone china cup in the microwave to create a quick cup of tea. Both the gilding and the age of the cup called for the more traditional brewing of tea in my white teapot and the careful pouring of the tea into the cup. As I savored the Scottish Highland Tea, I thought of Mimi Leta. Oh, the questions I wish I could ask her now and the conversations we could have. Every time I enjoy a cup of tea in the thistle teacup, I will think of her, with gratitude, and I will think of Scotland. I will image her sitting across from me, smiling with approval. Someday, we will share tea time again, and all my questions will be answered!

Mimis thistle teacup late tea

Day 191: Hang Mimi Leta’s Wind Chime in the Garden

mimis windchime e

Showers earlier today kept me from planting my next batch of flowers. However, a break in the clouds drew me outdoors and into the garden. I decided today was a good day to hang a large wind chime in the backyard where its tinkling chime could be enjoyed from anywhere in the garden.

I’ve had wind chimes hanging on my covered front deck for years. I love the sound of the wind stirring the hollow metal rods. I currently have two dragonfly chimes adorning the deck. I’ve never hung a wind chime in the backyard before. We certainly used that space when the children were little. It was more of a play area with swings and a sandbox and various children’s pools over the years. And then it was just a yard. I didn’t have a seating area like I do now, or the Japanese Garden, herb garden or meditation area. It seemed fitting to bring such a joyful sound into this space that is developing beautifully.

And this were not just any wind chime. This set belonged to Greg’s mother, whom the kids called Mimi. My best guess is that these musical chimes are approximately 30 years old. Mimi Leta bought them before Alzheimer’s began to affect her memory and sap her energy. She selected this particular chime because of the music note attached to the clapper in the middle. Mimi was a gifted pianist. She played the piano most of her life, in churches, for choirs, and during special occasions, like weddings and funerals, but mostly she played for her own enjoyment. Music was important to her and was a huge part of her life.

The wind chime with the bright red music note was symbolic of her love for music. She hung the chime on her front porch, where its tinkling music filled the air around her home long after the piano in the living room fell silent. And longer still, after Mimi herself fell silent and no longer graced us with her presence.  Recently, as I sat on the porch with Greg’s dad, listening to the chime as the breeze played a soft song, he asked if I’d like to have the wind chime for my garden. I was honored. I didn’t want to take something that still brought him joy, but Dad Moore insisted that it was time for the wind chime to go to someone else.

This afternoon, I climbed up on a two-step ladder and perched there, secured a hook in the northeast corner of the detached garage. The wall of this structure is behind the brick seating area. I carefully hung the wind chime. The summer breezes can stir the rods and send music drifting throughout my garden. Mimi would have enjoyed sitting with me at the bistro table, sipping a cup of tea, chatting, and admiring the plants and flowers. Having the wind chime makes me think of her. And every time I hear the tinkle and see the music note, I’ll remember.

Near the top of the wind chime, suspended on the chain that holds the clapper, is a red heart. That ruby heart reminds me of her love of music, but more so, it reminds me of her love for her husband of 57 years, for her sons, for her grandchildren and for me. As the gentle waves of music fill my garden, I imagine her love radiating outward too, caressing each person enjoying the garden. The thought makes me smile.

Another first…adding a video. Mimi’s wind chime.