If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. --Japanese Proverb
So the story goes something like this...
I was running errands on a quiet afternoon a few weeks ago when I happened upon an estate sale in my neighborhood. Forever unable to resist the siren call, I told myself I'd run in for a super quick browse. They were just wrapping up for the day so I moved quickly, grabbing a fantastic old picnic basket and few odds and ends, and then as I waiting in line just about to check out, the most darling little tea cup and saucer I have ever seen just happened to catch my eye sitting atop a table of knick knacks. I literally dropped my stash, handed my baby to the sweet elderly woman sitting nearby and reached for the cup all in one smooth motion. They wanted $4. I pointed out a crack. They countered their own asking price with $1. Sold.
The best part of the deal however, was the short education I gained as a sweet lady (and former owner of the Royal Albert cup and saucer) explained why English bone china is the most sought after. Supposedly it actually makes tea taste better, not to mention its incredible durability. A long time tea lover with distinct English heritage, I found this all entirely fascinating. This particular tea cup came home with her after a trip to England as a gift for her grandmother. The grandmother loved it for a great many years before her death, it was then passed back to her grandchildren who loved it for many years still, and then finally found its way into my adoring hands. I had no idea of its actual value. It was beautiful. It was a dollar. If nothing else I'd plant something in it or use it to hold jewelry.
It also just happened to be the week before Everyn's first birthday. And I just happened to have no idea what to get her. I knew I wanted something beautiful and meaningful, but I had absolutely no clue what.
A couple of days later Josh and I just happened to be searching Macy's for a particular set of glassware when out of no where the most beautiful tiny tea set just happened to beckon to me from across the room. I literally stopped in my tracks and b-lined for it, astonished at its beauty and perfection. I stood staring, realizing it just happened to be the exact same pattern as the antique tea cup from the estate sale two days prior. A dream-like moment. Slightly afraid to touch it, I finally mustered the courage to flip it over, shocked to see it was indeed a children's set of authentic Royal Albert bone china in the Old Country Roses pattern! I almost fell over.
To my delight it just happened to be 30% off, and when an a sales guy saw me drooling over it he casually mentioned to my utter amazement that if I took part in their 'pre-sale' it just happened to be an additional 20% off on top of that! It also meant we would have to wait to pick it up a few days later, which just happened to be Everyn's birthday! What?! I almost melted into a puddle of happiness right there on the floor.
Suddenly I caught a glimmer of something in my peripheral. Slowly turning, hoping it true, my eyes locked on a dazzling sight. There just happened to be a matching adult version! I nearly choked when I saw the sticker price, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop the visions of years upon years of mother daughter tea time dancing in my head. It was meant to be.
And there you have it. There's nothing more I can say.
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. --C.S. Lewis
(This entire account should be considered a prelude of sorts. I've been obsessively collecting gorgeous vintage tea cups and saucers at estate sales and thrift stores for the last few months now. The beauty of tea and prayer and meditation, the art of stopping to savor, is about to be thrust into your hands. More to come...)
Is there anything more I should know about bone china? Do you own any? Are you a fan?