Yesterday I was asked to play piano while the Elyria Women's Club had their tea. It was held in the Monteith Hall
It is the former home of an ardent abolitionist, the Rev. John Monteith....and it is run and nurtured by this women's club. The Rev. Monteith turned it into a station for the underground railroad. It was built about 1835 (on the dark side, he was instrumental in establishing the University of Michigan...OH-IO). A tunnel in the basement led to the Black River and allowed slaves to escape to Canada by way of Lake Erie.
Many of the Ladies from the Hickories (Lorain County Historical Society) are involved with this group...I am not. Elyria with its one way streets still baffles me and let's face it...I am busy enough. But it was so nice to be asked to play the background music. The tables were set so prettily and each table had it's own china tea pot, filled with boiling water. Each setting had a white bag filled with various teas...and even one herbal tea so I could have something warm to drink...and I needed it. It was a cold day and the house is cold.
We dined on Savory Sandwiches (chicken salad on croissant, egg salad on wheat, beef, provolone and pesto spirals and cucumber delights), Cranberry Orange and Peaches 'n Cream scones served with Devonshire Cream. Pastries were salted Caramel mini Cheesecakes, Chocolate Amaretto Bars, Banana Bars with Lemon Cream Frosting and Frosted Sugar Cookies in the shape of pumpkins that were decorated as well.
And the thing I have noticed at all the teas is that the women who come truly are ladies. They do not have to PIG OUT, eating everything up and demanding more. Each plate is set with one of each of the sandwiches. The dessert plate had enough and the ladies do not feel the need to grab from another table.
It is an event that honors a long ago time. Not a church meal where the children knock over adults to get to the common table, filling their plates with so much food and don't clean their plates...while parents look the other way. This is a time when ladies come dressed as ladies, some with fascinators if not real hats. They sit and chat and sip their teas. It is all so lovely and I am grateful to be a part of it.
A funny moment that I have to add because I realize the world of women today have lost the niceness of wearing slips. A young voice student performed 5 songs. Her voice was lovely and she was very accomplished. She was as thin as a reed and very pretty. She sang standing in front of a window in a knit skirt...with no slip on and with the sun that came through, even on such a grey day, we saw more than we wanted to...at least I did. Reminded me of when Diana was engaged to Charles and was still working in the children's school and was caught by the same sunlight dilemma. That never happened again! What's the problem with wearing a slip?
My newest favorite herbal tea is Twinings' Honeybush, Mandarin and Orange. So gentle and soothing. Think I'll go online and order some....that way I don't need to have a variety box and hate the rest.