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As told by Maureen
Winnie Viola invited me to tea last week. Her house is made of five hollow gourds that are nestled in a circle deep inside the raspberry patch. Of course, even if I could manage to crawl under the raspberries, I still couldn't fit inside any of the gourds. So Winnie held the party at the edge of the patch, under the neighboring asparagus. Since it was late summer, the plants were tall and bushy and provided a lovely sun‑filtering roof.
When we had all arrived, (We being myself and the Pippsywoggins Leticia and Daphne) she handed each of us a basket of fragrant mint leaves, then she began to sing a song about friends and sun and cream sweets and tea. As she sang she rhythmically tossed leaves from her basket onto the place where we would sit. She then repeated the song, and we joined in, singing and tossing, until the ground was a soft lint‑smelling carpet. Next she instructed each of us to pick a leaf or a petal to use as our plate. Then she disappeared into the largest of her gourd "rooms". I picked a waxy Begonia petal while Leticia picked a lilac leaf and Daphne plucked a petal from the geranium.
When Winnie reappeared she was carrying two baskets and a tiny blue teapot. In one basket were scones, each the size of a cheerio. In the other were thimble‑sized jars of currant jelly, blueberry jam and clotted cream, along with four blue china cups. These she sat in the middle of the mint leaf carpet, and then invited us all to sit down. Which we did.
Winnie is an especially talkative little Pip, so over tea (which was in cups the size of a large green pea) we talked about everything from how to milk a rabbit (You didn't think that Pips milked cows, did you?) to how to preserve old laces. It was a fascinating afternoon. Now I wonder if I can teach that teatime song to my friends at my next doll group?
1995, 2006 by Maureen Carlson