As an aspiring writer, I guess you could say it’s in my nature to be observant. After all, studying the details of all that’s going on around me in my environment and how it effects me are like chocolate chips to a chocolate chip cookie: One wouldn’t merely exist without the other.
I always felt extra sensitive around those people that were my grandparents age. Aside from the common rule of respecting your elders, I also knew that many of them lived alone and longed for company that extended beyond helping to run errands for them. The body may be frail and the mind may have a more difficult time recalling things as it was, but the ability to sense and convey feelings and emotion are still in place. Many people in my generation express that they fear growing old. I can understand full well. If it’s not how expensive managing illness can be, it can be both lonely and isolating if you don’t have much of a family or support system especially after the loss of your spouse.
I never met my grandfather and lost my grandmother shortly before high school. That was the first set, second set of grandparents lived in another country so I hardly got to spent time with them. I still had a lot of growing up to do. For a period, I was alone in ways I needed some grandmotherly advice in a rapidly changing world just as I was beginning adulthood. That’s why I am grateful for some older ladies from church for our tea dates and pizza parties to one who would invite me over to her big house in a developed part of town and we would chat in her parlor about everything from church to her experiences marching in the Easter Parade to fashion to the Sunday New York Times. After her husband’s death, I was her only company that she anticipated with joy on most Sunday afternoons. I have been the only other person to grace her parlor besides her housekeeper as her family lived out of state. She had an eye for style too and always wore a stylish hat to church on Sundays. For her funeral, all of the women including myself each wore a stylish hat or fascinator in her memory. I stood in the back of the church proudly wearing a black 1930’s style fascinator that I nabbed from Urban Outfitters.
The grandmothers or the Babas (Eastern European loving nickname for “grandma”) at your church all lived rich lives and give back so much, and what is all done for them in return? Are we being thoughtful of the feelings and needs of those who are old and live alone? Invite them to coffee hour. Talk with them at coffee hour. Come over to their house and bring your favorite herbal blend of tea if they invite you. You will soon find they like the same things you do because they were once you and you will soon turn into them yourself. There is one particularly frail lady at my parish that walks to and back to church and coffee hour most Sundays that I helped assisted in her walk home. It was drizzly and breezy out for an odd day in May and I didn’t have my car. If it weren’t for me, she would have possibly been alone in this weather.
The weather lately has felt more like March or Fall here in the northeast part of the country. It made the weather patterns on Sunday feel odd – with on again sunshine and off again thundershowers which breathed a beautiful rainbow in some areas. Odd weather patterns like this are another chilling reminder for us to take it slow as we are sublimely reminded to live moment to moment for how quick life unfolds and fades away in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it’s that quiet, slowness on Sundays that I crave and make Sundays all the more appreciative, special and ideal for scone making and later tea.
I gave my mother a Mother’s Day tea brunch at an actual teahouse last week. Scones with real butter were among the list of menu items for brunch. Given the typical schedule in America, many of us don’t have time go out and sit to take tea let alone for our mothers these days but some of us can appreciate what a warm cup of tea can do for the body but did you know that scone making is a very easy and quick process and when vegan, still taste sweet and dandy? The addition of the lavender is relaxing.
1 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) of nondairy milk (I used cashew)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 teaspoon of pink sea salt
culinary lavender, a generous amount
1/4 cup of organic, extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cookie sheet.. In a measuring cup, stir together the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil to cut it into the flour. Sprinkle in a generous amount of culinary lavender. Mix until combined until dough becomes clumpy like cookie dough. Drop by tablespoons onto the cookie sheet, make them a little larger and spread each out on a cookie sheet.Don’t be afraid to layer on a little sugar – each one! Bake for 20 minutes.