It’s a rare occasion when I share a photo of myself online but the one below of me all dolled up and experiencing High Tea seems like a good time to do it. People on my continuum care campus are not used to seeing me put any effort into my clothing. (Jeans and a sweat or tee shirt are my uniform.) Heck, I even broke out the jewelry and I traded in my tennis shoes for some black dress shoes I’ve owned for two years and only wore once before. The self appointed mayor of our independent living building even paid me a complement while were waiting for our bus---only the third one I’ve gotten out of him in the nearly two years we’ve lived here. And one of those complements was for a poem I wrote that got me in a little trouble with the management. The third complement the Mayor gave me was when I walked a run-away at a purple fashion show for Alzheimer's Awareness. I wore a long, purple and turquoise lounging dress of fake silk and he told me I “won the fashion show.”
Mr. Mayor is an odd duck in many ways but in other ways he’s typical of most males born just before WWII whose ideas of the male/female roles are firmly fixed in his head. I met him the first month after we both moved in. I was in the cafe by myself and he came in and asked if he could join me. I said ‘yes’ and a scant few minutes later he got up and said he changed his mind and he moved to another table by himself. I found out later on that his wife had died not long before that and he was kind of a shy, corporate lawyer. His wife was a stay-at-home mom of five boys who always had a cocktail waiting for him when he got home from work and she laid his clothes out for him in the morning. She'd never even shaved her legs in front of him and they dressed for dinner at night. Fast forward to now, it didn’t take him long to get over his shyness and now he has what we all call his harem that he dines with him weekly at the so-called Mayor’s Table--seven women who are the cream of the crop, the head cheerleaders, the most bedazzled, the Royalty and Chosen Ones---I’ve used all these nicknames in my head and they often have cocktails beforehand in one of their apartments. His guest list changes slightly from time to time but I’ve never been invited to dine with the mayor so it's a good thing it's not on my Bucket List. In all fairness, the Harem mostly lives on the same floor which makes it easier for them to form friendships. I live on a hall with only six apartments and I rarely see anyone on my floor and I doubt I could pick two of them out of a lineup.
I do often sit at the community table with Mr. Mayor at lunch time and know how seriously he takes his job as the self-appointed mayor. He set up a residence council with by-laws and legal papers and a newsletter that he did ask me to be in charge of, which I turned down. I knew I had the experience to put one together but how he could possibility know that based on one poem I wrote and hung in the mail room is still beyond my comprehension. I’ve never told anyone here about the 24 page, by-monthly Readers Voice Newsletter I sold by subscription for ten years. I don’t even think my nieces knew about it. And Don---bless his heart---edited every word I wrote for spelling errors and in the process he learned a lot about romance books, the women who wrote them and read them.
Anyway, back to the mayor. He’s kind of the center of every event. He makes speeches and advocates for residences on all kinds of things. For example, he got management to install dehumidifiers for those who wanted them attached to their furnaces and he wrangled a seat at the table when our CEO got promoted and the management was interviewing his replacement. He got them to agree to a matching fund to buy a baby grand for our lobby (but the majority of we residents voted the idea down). He might be a self-appointed mayor but he’s more than earned the title.
Going to High Tea: that’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was in The Red Hat Society and I lost the opportunity to go with them. Back then we didn’t have a High Tea place in town so going was a day trip, and back then I couldn’t leave my husband alone for more than a scant two hours. My red hat sisters came back raving about how much fun it was to dress to the nines and be served exotic teas, fancy sandwiches and pastries on elegant china.
A High Tea room opened up here in town this summer and the decor and table settings were rich and fancy with its exposed, vintage brick wall and red velvet davenports and gold trimmed china which is a good thing because the service was not great and the food was so over priced it could have ruined the experience if we had let it. (The photo of the menu is below.) By the time they added on the tax and the tip it was $49.00! per person. It looks like a lot of food for the $37 but everything you get for the $37 was two-bites and while it all tasted good, $49 plus $7 for the bus ride really put a nick in my budget. Or as one of my High Tea companions said, “I might as well have rolled up dollar bills and lite them on fire.”
Still, the experience made me feel young again. Young enough to be having tea parties with my mom and later on with my nieces when they came along. My mom didn’t drink coffee or soda pops. I don’t even remember her drinking lemonade but I find it hard to believe that she’d have made it for us kids without pouring herself a glass or two. I also don’t remember her ever drinking ice tea but, again, I obviously didn’t pay enough attention back in those days to imprint a lasting memory of her liking ice tea or not. Her English ancestries would be proud that her appreciation for a good cup of hot tea never wavered. And that tea better be hot or she’d sent it back to where it came from for a do-over. Funny how some memories stick with you and others seem to float away like dandelions blowing in the wind.
Until next Wednesday... ©