“If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise,
If you go down in the woods today you’d better go in disguise,
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic”
(Melody by American composer, John Walter Bratton, in 1907, and lyrics added by Irish songwriter, Jimmy Kennedy, in 1932)
“Make time for a picnic..” is a phrase that often reverberates from the walls inside my head. It takes me back to my youthful, and carefree days. If a picnic can be combined with “high tea” and friends, then so much the better. A picnic can be an impromptu gathering, or a planned event. It is a joyous idea of spontaneity mixed with frivolity that creates dancing within the senses. It can be conducted outdoors, or in…there are no rules.. So let’s just be creative and see where that takes us . I’ve been known to host ” carpet picnics” with big bowls of buttered and salted popcorn, where board games are played, and laughter, and the occasional nap happens. Sometimes a movie is playing on the tv, or there is music … Let there always be music.
We decided to host such an event this past Friday, which was the day after Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. It was not planned specifically to be the day after, but thinking on it now, it was a day of Thanksgiving in this house too just north of the border .
A few ladies from the neighborhood, or the ” hood,” were invited to come together and get to know one another better. The idea was to build more community, and friendships, and share champagne, petite little egg salad and cucumber sandwiches, with homemade squares, and of course chocolate, because there always must be chocolate. I do declare it to be in a necessary food group all on it’s own after all .
The kettle boiled, the tea bags were placed in an ornate blue and white china tea pot, and fine tea cups were donned for such an auspicious occasion. The tea steeped and waited to be enjoyed by the guests.
We were bringing the fancy back into a Friday afternoon.
There was a welcome glow from twinkling lights, and inviting Christmas decor created a pleasing ambiance to the setting.
(Photos courtesy of Cory Denzin Hills, my beloved cousin, and older and wiser sister)
Everybody was almost there, except for our one neighbor who lives across the street. It seemed improper etiquette to commence without her.
I ended up scurrying across to retrieve her, and as timing would have it, she was just coming out her front door. I did not have on appropriate foot wear for the suddenly chilly, and snow falling day, but who has time to grab boots, while the “ladies in waiting ” are ready to partake, and enjoy the festivities?
We sat in a circle, with the gold and white Christmas tree in the background, and shared what was happening on the street, and in the area, and we got to know one another better. Some had lived here for 50 years and more. There was history in this room, and friendships were budding . It was a time of sharing and caring .
I began telling my story with the other ladies of how I had come to know Diane, the day her son’s four dogs had escaped, and met me in the middle of my daily walk. I wrote the blog last March entitled, “Four Dogs,” and delivered a hard copy to her afterwards. This incident had happened the day we were to lay to rest my late Mum. There are no coincidences.
Joyce, from “Apartment A” in the house gave the ladies a guided tour, and much merriment was experienced.
We had promised them a visit to The Teddy Bear Room downstairs.. I’m officially turning into my Mother ..lol.
I explained about the bears, and Cory assisted them in finding the perfect one to adopt . There was magic in the air, and a buzz in the room. Faces were shining..there was joy. I had a feeling that present worries of the day were set aside in those few hours together, as we just enjoyed fellowship and shopping.
These little teddy bears are finding their way into many hearts. There is a whimsy and nostalgia associated with them .
I think I finally understand more and more why my Mum was so drawn to them. They look at you with kind glass eyes that seem to come alive the more you stare into them. Often there is a smile hidden within their shiny depths. A teddy bear won’t hurt you. They are always waiting for you with a welcome hug of comfort and appreciation, unless of course, a doggie decides to mistake them for their toy. Oh my… that could be a disaster. Avert…avert.
Definitely keep out of reach of dogs. I’ve lost a high heel or two, and a bear due to a persistent beagle that decided to sneak away and chew the item beyond recognition. That was a sad day fir both beagle and owner.
In this season of Thanksgiving, with Christmas just around the corner, spending time together is not something we take for granted. The memory of lockdowns, and not being able to meet, and eat and enjoy one another’s company is still present. We are aware.
A friend of mine in Colorado has ” covid” and has quarantined herself inside her guest cottage with her family paying visits to her outside her glass front door. Her family had flown in for Thanksgiving to spend the holiday together. She says that she felt like ” the girl in the bubble.” She is still recovering, but not likely to soon forget this experience especially of not being able to hug her people.
Her family left food outside her door, but she remarked that she had a whole new appreciation for those that were so alone during the pandemic, and many who died alone in long term care homes, hospitals, and sequestered inside their homes.
It seems that we have been given a new appreciation for the gift of gathering. It is such an important component of our lives.
I know there are many going through so so much with mental health issues. There is much need for comfort and care . Anxiety and depression are a constant in many peoples’ lives. It seems that the more we share, even a little with one another, the effect is big. Unloading our burdens within the safety of a friend or family memory, and often with stranger is critical . We can’t even know what a simple smile of encouragement can mean to someone who is struggling. We all struggle.
I find that I can’t find the words to say, and just so you know, I’m well aware of my love for words, and seldom feel at a loss for them, unless of course I’m playing scrabble with my son Zach, then…words escape me. He beats me every time, but I’m not giving up . Showing up is the thing.
It has been an unexpected pleasure to have been able to connect with him through a scrabble app on our phones. We are in a constant game. Even if we just play a few words a day…I feel closer to him across the miles. Our words shared together is a virtual hug when he is 1300+ miles away.
I’m just playing him, and he is playing 5 other opponents and I still can’t win . Those darn kids.
Finding new ways to stay in touch takes tenacity and effort, but it’s always well worth it.
It’s always the right time for a picnic..especially if a teddy bear is involved. They don’t drink much tea, but they are the perfect companion.
2 thoughts on “The Teddy Bear Tea Party”
I LUV this poem … have I heard it before? It surely must have been your mom’s little secret to her bear-creation beginnings!! Now Im going to ask youtube to sing it!! Your tea set … reminds me of your Nan!! And I have one of her pink, oh so feminine tea cups, I cherish it!! Are those bears all made by your mother?? What talent. Their company in that room must give u a bear-hug from her every time u enter 🤎 🤎 …say speaking of hi tea, my daughter and I have an “appointment” at the Chateau Laurier Dec 21st. I think it would be splendid if u could join us 🍽 ! She visited with your mom and I once and learned more of our Denzin history! (She actually knew your Nan!) Anyway … u would be a delightful addition to our table if your busy schedule allows for MORE tea time and togetherness! 😘😘 … (I can also picture our dear Joyce there too 😍)
Yes… I loved Nanny’s fancy tea cups too. Tea just tastes better from bone china doesn’t it? Mum did not make these teddy bears she collected them. She did host teddy bear making workshops on weekends, when she had her store. I have several I can show you that she made. Some from her collection are artist handmade bears, and some are collectible bears from various international companies. Thank you for your generous offer to have tea at the Wilfred Laurier. I will be out of town at my son Zach’s in Oregon on that date you mentioned. I would love to invite you to come over for tea here in Stittsville, and to see the teddy bear display I have made in my Mum’s honor. You must choose some to take home. She would love for you to have one or two .. or three.. to share with your family. Let me know if a time next week could work?