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Girlfriends Tea...20th Year

" We create our own traditions for the same 

reason we create our own families; to know

where we belong.  We like our holidays the way

children like bedtimes stories; predictable.

We don't come together for something new."  Ellen Goodman

 It happens the second Wednesday of every December...these long standing Girlfriends meet at my house and we have our now "annual tea party".  It's an amazing thing to witness..especially for me.  Each year I look at these girls and once again, realize the many gifts they bring to my life...all very different but all the same in so many sometimes is hard and if you have a team to support you, the going is so much easier. These are the ones, who will put down their pencil and come, doesn't matter the time of day or the time of night.  Every year I give Thanks that they all are at my table once again..

So it begins...they make me laugh..each year there is the usual, "where do you want me to sit."  My answer most years.."wherever you want"...but this year I shook them up...I had a few that always went to the back of the dining room table...and so I dragged them up front..Oh boy...that threw everyone off...I wish I had a dining room that supported a round table...but like my Mom used to say..."wish in one hand and s..t in the other and see which fills up the fastest"...gosh she was rough around the edges..LOL. but I do know what she meant...but probably because of the long table..all of the girls now have gotten to know each other even though some were never friends before our tea meetings. It  has been magical watching them come together and now I know that they would continue to see each other even if I were not the that.


Many pots of tea are consumed with tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and of course luscious desserts...this years special dessert...Vanilla ice cream with lemon curd, fresh whipped cream and sugared pistachio's good.  Like every good girl gathering though, we do like to have a touch of the medicinal beverage to settle the stomach...along with gift opening.  Mark West seemed to be a favorite this year along with a bit of homemade lemoncillo...this is not a tea part for sissy's...If you want to come to the table you better wear your Big Girl hanky panky here...

Remember I told you this was not a party for sissy's...well this is where it gets interesting...THE YANKEE SWAP...I wonder as I write this, if this is a swap that only Yankees partake of...I think not but I'm guessing it might be called a different kind of swap in other parts of the country...but Yankee girls are notorious for getting what they what, whatever it takes...honestly we have so much fun with this...even a few cat fights along the way. In the end, everyone goes home happy with their gifts but they sometimes are still grumbling as they walk down the driveway to their cars...

The center piece these last few years (and now probably for as long as we gather) is the bowl of old colored Christmas balls. We realize how fragile they are but they are still here, with us. It reminds me and the girls...that life is also fragile. We know as a group, that someday there will be empty chairs at the table. These were my Grandmother's Christmas ornaments...and in a most meaningful way..she reminds us from afar, how important it is for us to  gather each year and celebrate each other...Celebrate the friendships and the event.  They remind us to stop for a few hours each year to reconnect around the tea share stories, new and old, to laugh with each other as if we were still silly teenagers and to hold tight to the love that each one of us brings to the table...intertwined now after 20 years..we have a history together and each second Wednesday of December we celebrate that history...Oh my, some of these girls have been hanging with me for more than fifty years...all for at least 30.  We not only celebrate the Christmas Holiday, food and wine...we celebrate the gifts Friendships bring...actually at this stage..they are my Sisters...lucky me, I got to hand pick them...with 3 brothers I needed to pick strong and steady girls...

So this season as you travel through the hectic days....take a moment and give thanks for all the good people in your life...Girlfriends...yes, I love these girls but there are so many more of you out there that I wished I could have brought to this table..I've learned that you don't have to live next door or even in the next town State or Country to qualify...all you have to do is reach out in Friendship and the rest, if it's right, will just follow...

Merry Christmas and here's to all my Girlfriends near and far...


is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die…David Whyte...



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Reader Comments (12)

Oh what a beautiful testament to friendship. I am so thankful that You have stepped into my circle of friendships. It has been a highlight of 2014 for me.

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeg Rogers

Oh I just love this, Cheryl! A wonderful tradition and what lovely images. A beautiful way to celebrate friendship!

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

love everything about this. Wonderful idea. The table looks beautiful.

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Foster

So nice to see a glimpse of your annual tea party & read the description. You are indeed blessed.
Happy Christmas to you my far away girl friend. X

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

When I saw your baking the other day, I was looking forward to this post. I knew from last year you would write one about your girlfriend tea party. And I knew it would make me laugh out loud and then get a lump in my throat. And you did not disappoint! You are someone who really knows and understands how to be a friend and the value of friendship in life. I am so happy and honoured to call you a friend from afar but a friend of the heart. I bow to your example. xo

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSherry G.

Such a lovely tradition and so great to see a table full of lady friends.

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Cheryl how absolutely wonderful that you have this tradition. I think it's fantastic that you have all remained in touch for so many years. How very special that is! You are very fortunate!

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Thomas

Cheryl, my very dear friend on the North Shore . . . and beyond!
With all the blogs you've written, either about family or friends, your beauty shines like the sparkling reflections on the tea cups and ornaments above. I wish I could have grown up with you by my side, to teach me about the JOY of special relationships. But you've already shown me so much with your generosity of spirit and unconditional love . . . you are definitely my SHERO! Your *being* is the exemplary of true friendship. Thanks for all you share and for being YOU!
The happiest of holidays to you, your family, and all with whom you share your amazing fellowship! Love from Antoinette xox

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Thank you Girls, each and every one of you for stopping by...You all make my life sweeter and if the table was big enough and the distance not so far...I would welcome you all for tea...xoxo

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Cheryl, I can honestly say, that of all the blog posts I've ever read, this one is tops. Your pictures and photographs tell the story of real friendship, and I'm blessed to say that they mirror the friendships in my own life. Every detail of your story and your interpretation of the event speaks to your wisdom and maturity. As we grow, we learn what matters most, and this is a lesson you live. Your ending quote, by David Whyte, I'm sending to my best girl friends as I agree wholeheartedly! Merry Christmas, my friend.

December 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

What a nice tradition to have. It would be nice to start something similar to this with my friends. Hope you have more get togethers.

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterZambian Lady

Here I am girls (waving hand frantically from Alberta) where only big girl pants dwell....(I don't wear panties). What's this asking where to sit?... I would of planted myself at the head of the table. I must say all the girls haven't changed a bit. Not even a wrinkle out of place! I love that saying of your Mom's "A wish in the hand "....ha ha, my kind of gal! Desert sounds divine but I think I'll pass, already started my diet! Well, it's starting to get light, better get moosin' it! You blew me away with that pic of hands opening the gift, just love it! Taken with the new 7D? Ta! xo

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterH.S

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