Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Going to Tea....on a Sunday Afternoon

In honor of my birthday, March 31, my daughter, Rebecca, took me to a new tea shoppe for High Tea on Sunday. It is located in downtown Hayward about 12 miles from Oakland. The Golden Tea Garden is black-owned and is quite elegant, decorated with a large garden mural on one side of the room and beautifully displayed tea pots of all shapes, styles and antique cups and saucers, and crystal chandeliers. Right up my alley. I collect teapots and tea sets, not to mention a collection of books on having tea, brewing teas and the history of tea, so this felt like home. The tea shoppe has over 750 tea selections.

I admire anyone who initiates a business in this tenuous economy. For the owner, Beneba Thomas, this is her third career. She is a former attorney and real estate agent who is taking a chance. Frankly, I am delighted that she had the guts to follow a dream. Some people might think this is a frivolous endeavor. I have already heard comments such as “Who wants to pay $20.00 to have tea? I can make my own” or “That kind of stuff is bougie.” My people, my people.

Raised by a properly raised southern mother, who was raised to be a proper lady, having tea parties and going to tea was as natural as drinking sweet tea at a country picnic. Mom told of her mother, Grandmother Otelia, in rural Arkansas, having weekly quilting parties with neighboring women. At some point during their tedious sewing, they stopped for a snack of something sweet and tea, iced or sweet tea in the summer and hot tea in the winter. Having tea is more than drinking a hot beverage; it is an act of calming the soul and soothing the tenseness that gathers in the crook of your shoulders and neck. In the right company of women companions, taking tea can be a time of bonding and building intimate relationships. I cannot count the times I have gone to tea with either friends or family and came away feeling closer, a knitting of minds and souls. I have been to bridal shower teas held in private homes, book club teas with hats and 1950s styles setting in a recreation room, High Tea at the Fairmount Hotel in San Francisco with the finest of china and a breakfast tea in Savannah. I have been to tea tasting rooms to sample numerous teas with light snacks and Bed and Breakfast inns with three course tea meals. It is not just the setting, or the scones spread with cream, or the full-bodied flavor of teas from China, Africa and India, it is the sharing of secrets, desires, and hopes of women who over tea become sisters of the soul.

In times such as these with job uncertainty, high cost of living, and fear of terrorism; taking the time to pause, rejoice, and reconnect with not only other people, but the spirit, to me, is of high priority. People need these kinds of moments to slow down and take a deep breath and if the attendance at The Golden Tea Garden was any indication, others feel the same. There were whole families as well as groups of women. One little girl had on a beautiful blue, floral dress and white gloves, looking like Easter morning. The two women sitting next to us said they were walking and found the shop, which has only been open a month. Contrary to what one of my daughter’s friend who had suggested to her mother a few months ago to open a tea room, that “people around here wouldn’t appreciate it”, it is apparent that a ethnically diverse and varied income folk welcome a slice of contentment in this hectic world. Why not take some time to go out and have tea with a friend or brew your own? Add a few savories and have your own tea party. Stop, breathe and enjoy the moment.
The Golden Tea Garden


Beverly said...

Dera -

What a wonderful birthday treat!
I wish the new tea shoppe much success!
I too, enjoy exploring tea shoppes.
And when the day gets stressful I so enjoy taking a moment to enjoy a cup of tea with a piece of dark chocolate.

Dera Williams said...

Another tea connisuer (sp). I love my teas. I had a cup of French vanilla tonight with another piece of birthday cake.

Tea said...

Hi Dera,

I love your journal page. I will come by now and then to see what's happening. I happened to see the name of your page at Apooobooks.

Angelia... said...

How cool and HAPPY BIRTHDAY...I also love tea, tea and cupcakes...


Dera Williams said...

Tea, I like your name. Thanks.

Angelia, I knew you were a tea lover. :-)

'Cilla said...

Happy BirthDay Dera

I LOVE Tea.. there was a tea shoppe here. But it was only opened for a minute. :-( I'll have to come visit you so I can check it out.

Wishing the owner much success!!

Phyllis said...

Rebecca is a sweetheart; I'm glad you enjoyed your visit!

Dera Williams said...

Cilla- I know you love tea. I was your secret Santa. :-)

Phyllis- we love going to tea.

Niambi Brown Davis said...

I enjoyed this so much, and glad you had such a wonderful birthday treat. My favorite teas are The Republic of Tea's Rose Petal (for the Queen of :) and Earl Grey

Tea said...

Hi Dera,

I come to your blog often to visit. It's so inviting and refreshing. I received a Lovely Blog Award. I would like to pass it on to you.

1.Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and his or her blog link.

2.Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.