Friday, December 14, 2007

Good Afternoon, Mr. Spielberg

Another of our lunch-time regulars is Stephen Spielberg. OK, not THE Stephen Spielberg, but that really is his name. He started coming in about a year ago, and chats with Carolyn or Suzanne (since he's gotten to know them) if they happen to be there at the same time. He's a lovely older gentleman, and it's been nice to have a bit of the Y chromosome in the shop now and then for lunch. While we have lots of regular male tea drinkers who come in to resupply their stashes, we get lots more ladies than men in for the lunch bunch.

He informed us last week that he would be moving out of town to a retirement community in a city where some friends of his live. We will sure miss being able to say, "Good afternoon, Mr. Spielberg." and watching all the heads turn to see if it's the real Stephen Spielberg! Life moves on, and we wish him well in his new surroundings.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All I Want for Christmas...

Being the owner of a tea shop has its advantages. For example, all day long I get to drink the best teas from all around the world. And, of course, the tea pantry in my home is as full and varied as it gets. But at home, it's important to have favorite place or two to enjoy all that wonderful tea. One of mine was in front of the fire in our cozy living room on a nippy winter's night. That's all I really want for Christmas this year. That sounds easy enough, but with a major remodeling project that has taken the better part of the last 6 months, and is still not complete, it may or may not happen.

The project began with the intention to enlarge our 2nd bedroom/study/office into a master bedroom, add a master bath, and enlarge and finish the basement area into a 3rd bedroom/family room. Several other rooms were affected as well with a new closet being built into our old bedroom so that its closet could be opened to the hallway, making it into a first floor laundry room. And our breezeway was completely overhauled with new windows and doors. That left only the kitchen and living room in tact.

That is, until, because of one delay after another, the builder left the back part of our house (behind the living room wall) open without a roof for 7 weeks! ...only covered by tarps through torrential rains! Consequently, we ended up with mold--the nasty, toxic kind--growing in that living room wall. Our house is small to begin with, but now we are down to the kitchen, which is so full of drywall dust that it's practically unlivable, and we can barely get around the bedroom, which stores more than its usual share of stuff including our two cats, their food and litter box. It will all be worth it in the end, but we never imagined we'd have the living room torn up on top of all the rest. And we never imagined that it would take until Christmas!

So, Dear Santa, please do your magic and make it so that I can at least move my counch back into the living room by Christmas Eve. All I really want is that Christmas cup of tea with my hubby in front of a nice cozy fire.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Biker Rik, Part 2

Rik's warm and friendly ways did win over most of the ladies in class, except one--Suzie. She was a regular at the shop at that time, and whenever she came in, we'd sit and have a nice cuppa. If the subject of Rik came up, she would get visibly nervous and fearful. I questioned why she felt that way, since I was convinced of his gentle nature.

Her description went something like this: "He has the eyes of the devil--they're black!" and "He wears a ring with skulls on it!" I just had to laugh every time she ran through her litany of fear. I tried to convince her of his true character, but she was convinced that he was the devil himself. I told her that she just needed to meet him some day and she'd see his true and gentle nature--and, if she looked, she'd see that his eyes are really a beautiful blue!

Well, as luck would have it, and the stars were properly aligned one day, we were sitting there whiling away a late afternoon over tea and who do you suppose waltzed casually into the shop? Biker Rik, of course! I thought Suzie would die! She immediately took on a look of horror and I grabbed her arm to reassure her. I said, "Now, I'm inviting Rik to join us, and I want you to look closely at his eyes."

It took all the strength she could muster, but she forced herself to sit and join in conversation. After about 5 minutes I could see her begin to relax. We were joined by various others as the afternoon wound down. Her husband and daughter came after running their shopping errands. My hubby came in after work for a late afternoon sip. My friend Margaret, who is like a surrogate mother or aunt to me, and another friend, Helga, whom I've known for many years also straggled in. And after about an hour and a half and the magic of many cups of tea, this cacophany of souls had solved most of the world's problems and were laughing like a circle of old friends who'd been together for eons!

As I've said many times before, "Behold the power of tea!"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Biker Rik, Part 1

One of our regular's we've not seen in awhile is Biker Rik. I will never forget the first time he walked into my shop. He pulled up to the front of the store on his beautiful candy apple red Indian bike, decked out in leathers, skull ring, and looking very much like a typical biker. Not so much like your typical tea drinker. But, I was soon to find out what a serious tea drinker he was.

He's a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes--First Mate, to be precise. He was stationed out of Cleveland at that time, and on one of his leaves where he visited friends in the Toledo area. I'm not sure how he happened upon our shop, but he came in, ordered a pot of tea and made himself at home. We started to chat, and the next thing you know, we were deep in conversation to solve as many of the world's problems as we could. I couldn't remember when I'd had a more enjoyable afternoon. He then wandered around our tea shelves and did some serious tea shopping.

Since he was on board ship for long stints of time, he bought enough of each of his favorite teas to get him through. Manly teas, like Lapsang Souchong and Scottish Breakfast, along with a cast iron Tetsubin teapot. He had his well-worn wooden tea chest with him, and he carefully packed his tea wares to make sure they would all fit for travel aboard ship. And the other appreciators of tea on the ship all knew the path to his quarters--that's where the good tea was to be had. So, it gave him occasion to pull out his heavy cast iron pot and perform his sea-going version of tea ritual.

As he was about to leave, I mentioned that I was starting my first tea tasting series that evening. He not only came to the class that night, but as it fit into his time on shore leave, he signed up for the entire 4 week series. I think some of the ladies in class just couldn't make him fit into their conventional image of a tea drinker. But, his warm and outgoing personality won out, and they all came to enjoy his company and participation in class.

So, he became a regular and stopped in whenever he was in the area for pot after pot of tea and long, spirited conversations on every subject under the sun. The ship line he'd been sailing on has since been sold, and may not even be in operation by now. Rik had moved to Florida the last I heard. I miss those long, leisurely and most entertaining afternoons. The seaman's version of 'afternoon tea'!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tea and Sympathy

One of our regulars came in this week after a long absence. She had come in at least once a month for several years, and I'd just been thinking about her and wondering why the absence.

I was delighted to see Barbara when she walked in the door. She looked fabulous, as usual, always dressed to perfection. Something underneath the surface was different, though. As we caught up on events of the past 6 or 8 months, I'd shared how my husband and I had lost our entire animal family--a beautiful Siberian Husky, Kira, and two lovely cats, Chelsea and Eykis. She was totally sympathetic and recounted her sad losses of these past few months.

One day, coming home after running some errands, she found her elderly husband dead after apparently falling down a flight of steps. And, as if that wasn't shocking enough, a short time later, her only son was diagnosed with cancer and died soon after. My heart broke for her! I couldn't imagine how difficult that must have been to bear. I asked her how she was even still standing, and she said that she'd decided she just needed to move on with life. With one foot in front of the other day by day, she managed to move into a new house to distance herself from the horrible memory, and is putting her life back together. Still undoubtedly in shock, but moving forward, and living life. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." I am totally in awe of Barbara's strength.

We shared a few more sips of tea, now both perhaps better understanding the pairing of 'Tea and Sympathy'.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autumn Nip!

That autumn nip is finally in the air, and, in a business that's as unpredictable as the weather or stock market, I was right. The tea drinkers have started coming out--as witnessed by the increase in lunch traffic today.
Another of our regulars, Suzanne, is here today, and as she's gotten to know Carolyn fairly well, it's like 'old home week'. They start chatting, and usually get other customers into the conversation. It's delightful to see these ladies (and the occasional gent) enjoying our peaceful atmosphere.
Mission accomplished!
Gotta get the newsletter out today as our next event is coming up soon. In case you're in the vacinity, you can check out these fun events, such as tea leaf and angel card readings at and this month, we'll be learning how to tap into our own intuition and even read our own palms! We've almost got a full house for this event--I just love it when things pick up in the fall!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Who can believe it's October already? It's unseasonably warm, and will possibly break records with temps near 90 degreesF! So, business has been very slow, like the end of every summer, until that autumn nip is consistently in the air. Then we see the tea drinkers come out!

But, no matter how slow business is we can always count on our 'regulars', and one in particular, Carolyn, who is here EVERY DAY! She's such a steady customer, and up in years a bit, that we worry if she doesn't show up. We're just sure something dreadful has happened, since she also usually informs us when she has a schedule so full she won't be in for lunch. She's an amazing character. She loves to talk, and sometimes, I admit that I worry about all the talking and not much work getting done. But, it's usually worth listening to her ramblings as she's very interesting and well informed on a whole host of topics. I think she reads every word in the local paper, and basically, that's how I get my news.

We are getting a larger repertoire of 'regulars' all the time, and it's one of the things I like most about running the shop. It's great to know so many people by first name--it gives a "Cheers" kind of comfort to both us and the customers.
Cheers to Tea!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Welcome to Tea Time Tales! It's all about tea, people who like tea, and the adventures of a tea room owner. For years I've been wanting to record some of the interesting and sometimes downright strange happenings at the tea room. So, here I begin.

Sit back, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy Tea Time Tales...

Elaine, TheTeaLady