Saturday, July 25, 2020

On Tea, Trivia, and Touching Hearts

I’ve forgotten to announce here on Vital Signs Blog (and Facebook) about the last few “Anti-Boredom” packets that we’ve created for the residents of the 12 senior care facilities where, before the mandated quarantine, we used to present “When Swing Was King” shows every month.

I’m remedying that his morning.  Indeed, you can find all 21 (yes, 21) collection on this page of Vital Signs Ministries website. They are, if we say so ourselves, terrific.

But, as important as the entertainment and mental stimulation factors are in these packets, note too that the personal notes and photos we often include become an extremely valuable point of contact between us and our friends.  So too does the page of quotations and Scriptures we include.

And to underscore the personal touch that we try to add to the gifts we send along, I urge you to read Claire’s opening note to #21 in our series.  Here it is…

Dear friends,

Hey everyone, Claire here. One of the things I like to do – when there is a break in our schedule -- is host tea parties. And when I have the time and opportunity to do so, I have to admit, I “go all out.” I set the table with fancy teacups and saucers, a decorative teapot, crystal plates, fancy napkins and tablecloth, miniature tea settings for extra flair, and fresh flowers. Of course, by that time, I have already prepared the tea party goodies. That usually includes scones (my orange scones are my guests’ favorites), jam, lemon curd, tiny sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and fruit cups. (Denny often makes these wonderful slices of kielbasa cooked in an apricot sauce for my teas. But he always flees the house before my guests arrive!) Sometimes I attempt something really ambitious like the time I made a Marmalade Cake for a special Mitford-themed tea party where we discussed Jan Karon’s delightful novels. And then when the party gets under way, I love “playing mother,” that is, actually pouring out the tea and encouraging my guests to dig into the treats.

Every once in awhile I will have a theme or specific activity in play. For instance, maybe my guests (always women or girls) will wear a fancy or funny hat. Or perhaps they will bring along a Christmas ornament to exchange. Other times, as I mentioned, the conversation around the tea party table concerns a book we have read. Some of my favorite tea parties have been at Christmastime when I invite all the girls in my family – three generations now – and we use the china, crystal, teapots, and tablecloths that belonged to my Mom. Another memorable party was when a good friend from England was in town. For that one, she helped make the treats and entertained us by detailing how they “do tea right” up Manchester way!

I’m telling you all this because I was thinking how much fun it would be to come over to your place and have a tea party. (And yes, even guys can have a good time at a tea party!) But, alas; the sad fact is we still can’t gather freely. So, let’s do the next best thing. Go brew yourself a cup of your favorite tea (or coffee) and maybe grab a cookie or two. Find a comfortable chair and have some fun with this latest “Anti-Boredom” packet we’ve made. It will be our “quarantine version” of a tea party, complete with relaxation, encouragement, memories, and a bit of fun.

One day soon, Lord willing, we will be able to see all of you and again enjoy fellowship in person! And we will be thrilled to begin bringing you “When Swing Was King” programs again. Until then, know that we miss all of you very much and that we pray daily that the Lord will give you peace, patience, and joy as we pass through these challenging times.

Claire Hartford (for Denny too)

And, again, here is the link to all 21 packets.