The Original Tea Party

One of the things I find completely charming here in the Ozarks where Our Little House is located, is the good old southern tea parties. One of the women holds these about twice a year. She’s not exactly a “neighbor,” she lives at least 10 miles away and I got lost trying to follow another woman to her house last week, but she does live within our fire station service area, so around here, she is technically a neighbor.

She is a transplant from Mississippi. Many of our neighbors aren’t really locals at all, but from Chicago (some call this area “Little Chicago”), but we do have some neighbors from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

When my friend, Alicia, who is from none of the above, but originally from Peru, called me last winter and asked if I would like to go to a tea party, I was a little taken aback as I knew her politics didn’t match those of the political tea party movement.

“No, a real tea party,” she said. “With hats and dresses. Her parties are THE events around here.”

I didn’t have a hat or a dress (I had one dress when we moved here but have yet to locate it), so I wore my best slacks and a Christmas sweater since it was in December. I found my attire to be ok, not everyone dresses to the nines for the parties.

There was a hat contest for the best hat and a contest for the person with the best story about their show and tell tea set.

There was fancy little finger foods, but we didn’t sit around drinking tea, the hostess revealed she really doesn’t even like tea, but there were plenty of fruity libations of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety.

Last week, the theme, of course, was summer. The hostess is also a quilter, so we played a game and she gave away one of her quilts.

She loves to entertain and makes it seem so effortless that I’m in awe of her abilities. I’m sure sometime in the distant future when she can no longer throw these lavish events, her southern tea parties will still be legend on Pine Mountain.

Some of us will be remembered for our generosity, some for our ability to entertain.

It made me wonder what I will be remembered for. Possibly the Crazy Dog Lady?

What is your special talent for which you think you will be remembered for?

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12 Responses

  1. Janelle Stewart says:

    We homeschool following the guidelines of an English educator from around 1900, Charlotte Mason. There are several families in our area who do this so I host monthly Charlotte Mason teas. I provide location and tea, a couple others bring treats and we spend a couple hours either discussing a book chapter or a particular CM homeschooling topic. I just love it! I should also add a for fun tea party. I don’t why I hadn’t thought of it before!!

  2. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Sounds delightful. And makes me sadly aware of being a Southern woman in a foreign country. Not that we don’t have tea here.

  3. We have a monthly ladies event in our mtn valley. Depending upon how long you’ve lived here, you either call it TEA or TWINE (which is a word that just grates on me something terrible, but is essentially a combo of TEA and WINE … since over the years we’ve gone from tea and desserts to wine and hearty snacks or full meals).

    • Those sound like our book club meetings that are monthly, Roxanne. I think we come more for the conversation that doesn’t involve the book and the food than we actually do for the book!

  4. Annette says:

    Sounds like such fun! If I were organized, it would be a fun tradition to create. Perhaps next year. =)

  5. What will I be remembered for; I have not a clue.
    But, I love the idea of southern tea parties. My oldest granddaughter and I had lots of ideas for good old fashion victorian parties. I purchased lots of hats, dresses and lace. Because she lived so far away she was unable to spend time with me. I have since sold every item. She informed me of her love for “A Southern Life” blog at So we are both dreamers again. Yes, Kerri she enjoys you blog too. Mary

  6. Kathleen Winn says:

    What a lovely tradition! Glad to know that in some parts, “tea party” has retained its original definition and is a social event, not a political one. I love the idea of an old fashioned tea party for women friends. Sounds like a fun way to get together and celebrate summer!