Happily, a tea display that's gone to pots

Neighbors

September 22, 1998|By Natalie Harvey | Natalie Harvey,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE MANNER in which the tea habit has increased is alarming, it is fast becoming universal. In former years, the tea drinkers were usually to be found among nervous old persons. The association of the fidgety old maid and her cup of tea is proverbial.

"In this present day, the temptation of tea-tippling is presently offered to us from childhood. Coffee contains aromatic and other agents which render it a stimulant to the whole digestive system. Tea has no such auxiliary effect on the digestion.

"Contrast the vigorous refreshing odor and flavor of a good cup of coffee with the delicate fragrance and insipid taste of even a high grade of tea."

-- Excerpt from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1897.

Today, tea has once again gained popularity through travelers partaking of "high tea" in many parts of the world and interest here at home in the herbal qualities of tea.

But for Rose Johnson and Jerri Emma Pope Akers, tea has become a matter of collecting.

You can see their combined collections this month at the east Columbia library: teapots -- silver, ceramic and china -- teapot lamps, teacups, tea aprons, dolls' tea sets, books on tea, tea recipes, tea towels, tea earrings and charm bracelets, tea containers from as far away as Russia, tea note cards and even tea magnets.

The exhibit is in three of the library's display areas and includes James Pratt's "English Tea Lovers Companion" and Anthony Burgess' "The Book of Tea."

Did you know that tea was grown in Charleston, S.C., (American Classic Tea) by no less a personage than Sir Thomas Lipton himself?

Johnson and Akers have been collecting tea-related items for eight years. Johnson received her first teapot on her first date with her husband, Bruce, 39 years ago.

Both women, who work at the library, describe their avocation in the same way: "One day, I looked around my house and realized I had a collection."

They also discovered that many of their Howard County library colleagues liked tea. So, the library staff organized a "tea," using their personal tea pots and cups.

The next logical step was to organize a display at the library.

Akers prefers a formal high tea when entertaining; gloves and hats would seem appropriate at her functions.

She bakes scones and serves her favorite Rose Petal or Darjeeling teas in a ceramic cobalt-blue teapot, which has its own strainer for the tea leaves.

She enjoys the elegance of a beautifully set tea table, replete with savories, sweets, clotted cream and jams.

Johnson traces her taste for tea to a "cuppa" with her Irish grandmother.

Although she says she has enjoyed Lipton's tea bags, she has discovered the pleasure of steeping green teas and flavored herbal teas. She is adding to her knowledge of the history of tea through membership in a worldwide Internet group.

Her favorite tea is black, flavored with cinnamon and cloves.

Friends and family bring tea items to the two collectors from travels abroad.

Is the library exhibit their grand finale?

Johnson might say, "Let's make a cup of tea and think about it."

No excuse

The East Columbia 50+ Center's director, CC Pleasants, has scheduled "no excuse" exercise classes. Now, no matter which time of day is best for you, there is a session available.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Lynn Glaeser leads a low-impact class.

On Thursday afternoons, Edward Kentish teaches qi gong (Chinese exercise).

Ginger Hartman leads a high-energy, low-impact class at 6: 30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

Information: 410-313-7700.

Handles, lids, spouts

Potters and those who simply love to work with clay will want to learn techniques for crafting handles, feet, lids and spouts for their personal creations.

Bill Van Gilder has the answers and will demonstrate the steps during his one-day workshop from 9: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Columbia Art Center in the Long Reach village shopping center.

The fee for Columbia residents is $55; for nonresidents, $65.

Information: 410-730-0075.

Columbia Art Center welcomes volunteers. Director Rebecca Bafford says volunteers are needed to greet visitors, answer phones and take class registrations. Times vary. If you enjoy interacting with people, call 410-730-0075 for details.

Welcome, Sherry

Stevens Forest Elementary School Principal Bill Payne invites parents who missed the school's faculty and staff at the Parent Teacher Association meeting to check in at the office and welcome the school's new student counselor, Sherry Penroach.

Call first, because Stevens Forest is "sharing" Penroach with Rockburn Elementary this year.

Physical therapist Mindy Toby is a new staff member, too, and enjoys meeting parents.

Keep that appetite

Remember to build up an appetite for this Thursday's spaghetti dinner at 6 p.m. at Oakland Mills High School.

The dinner is a fund-raiser for the school's Scorpions Booster Club, chaired by Wayne Frizzelle.

Students may buy tickets at school. Tickets are also available at the door.

The Scorpions Booster Club is sponsoring a homecoming parade at noon Saturday and a tailgate party at 12: 30 p.m. in the school parking lot.

The parade of students, class floats, cheerleaders and the Oakland Mills band will march from Oakland Mills village center, along Stevens Forest Road. They'll turn left at Kilimanjaro Road and go to the school.

The homecoming football game begins at 1: 30 p.m.

Pub Date: 9/22/98

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