On March 22nd, I was invited by Peg Hassinger, a dear friend, to speak at the Carriage Manor Writers Group in Mesa, Arizona. The group pitched in with a surprise tea party to honor my visit and a surprise indeed it was! I was deeply touched (I cry easily these days if you must know!) with all the thought and planning that had gone into creating such a delightful event. There’s more about that in Marlys Jensens’s writeup below.
The Carriage Manor Writers Group meets every Friday. Many members are snowbirds so the group is more active in the cooler months. Members pick a special topic to write about every week and on the day of my visit the topic was (you guessed it) TEA of course! I was fascinated by the variety of genres and different viewpoints shared on the same subject. The format is open so we had a nice smattering of short stories, essays and poems and some very educative, funny and soul-stirring writing. When it came to my turn, I shared about my writing journey and Assam Tea. Here is lovely recap of the event by Marlys Jenson, one of the writers in the group. I am reprinting it with her permission. Thanks Marlys!
A SPECIAL MEETING
By Marlys Jensen – March 28, 2013
There are always surprises as we travel along life’s pathway, some more pleasant than others. One such pleasing experience happened last Friday at the Writers Class. Coming to class, all members were looking forward to the usual good time sharing their personally penned stories about “Tea”. Also, the anticipation of being in the company of a soon to be published author was high on our bucket list.
At 10:00 a.m. class would be in session. When walking through the door the atmosphere was intoxicating. Looking around the room was like being in another time and place. The tables were decorated eloquently. Flowers and a silver tea service flanked the head table. At each place, a setting ready for a party. On a doily, a fine bone china plate, saucer, and tea-cup were placed ever so perfectly. Antique cloth napkins added a nice touch. The side tables displaying colorful tea pots looked beautiful. Writer’s member and party giver, Gretchen, and party lover, Lucy, were responsible for the festive decorations.
Gretchen was in charge of the tea. We got to choose a tea flavor and hot water was added to our cups, thus the brewing began. A wonderful aroma filled the air. Dainty treats were provided by our leader and tea lover, Peg. It was joyful time, with another one of our leaders, Mary Lynn, recovering from a broken pelvis, joining the group.
Yet another pleasant surprise was the entrance of a beautiful Indian Lady, who now resides in Arizona. Peg introduced her as Shona Patel, a dear friend of hers. They have enjoyed many tea parties together during their friendship. We were all captivated to hear the story of her life. She had grown up on a Tea plantation in India. Her father was appointed the first Indian manager of a tea farm, a fortunate event for the family. She had a good life and learned much about the harvesting and processing of tea during her growing up years.
She loved writing and eventually was able to enroll in a writer’s class by a coveted professor at Scottsdale Community College. She learned much in his class about getting a manuscript ready for publishing. She started the process. She hired an agent and was fortunate to be accepted by a publishing company. Her book “Teatime for the Firefly” will be out in October, 2013. It is a novel in which she was able to weave into the story many facts about tea and the plantations where it was processed. We are anticipating the book’s sale.
Shona is a lovely young lady, with many talents, and an outgoing personality. It was a fantastic class. I am sure all of the Writers feel the same as I….. A BIG thank-you is due to all who had a part in this most delightful time. It exceeded all expectations! Thanks again.
More about Marlys Jenson and the Carriage Manor Writers Group: My husband and I are retired and spend our winters in Carriage Manor Resort in Mesa, Arizona. It was there I was encouraged to join the Writers’ Group. I nervously started attending four years ago. The class has challenging topics and activities. It brought me to another level in writing. We have outstanding leaders. Here we learn to express ourselves through writing, reading, sharing, etc. When reading our stories during class time, we laugh and cry together; by this interaction we develop true friendships. I am looking forward to reading Shona Patel’s Book “Tea Time for the Firefly”. Her excellent writing ability and vibrant personality will be reflected in the book, I am sure.