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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tea on Cedar Avenue

At 3:15 each afternoon Mollie Baldwin sets a kettle of water on the stove.

She ladles three spoonfuls of fine English tea into a ceramic pot, sets a linen-topped table with china cups, a perfect plate of grapes and a lovely shortcake still warm from the oven.

Promptly at 3:30 the doorbell rings, and before Baldwin has time to answer, the first guest bustles inside.

"It's me-e," a voice belonging to Dorothy Decker calls out.

In a few minutes the living room fills. The kettle whistles, coats are shed and pleasantries exchanged in the tidy stone house with sunshine yellow trim on Cedar Avenue. Baldwin takes a seat and holds a chubby brown pot aloft.

"Well, let's have some tea," says the sensible looking 75-year-old former school teacher, peering at her guests from behind roundish glasses.

And so it begins.

Every day for the last 20 years, in this Nantucket blue living room with its comfy chairs, braided rug and shelves lined with dozens of colorful tea pots, tea is served.

In a world approaching warp speed, here time stands still.

Burdens are lifted, woes released, stories told, days recounted.

Through two decades of living, of trees growing tall and kids growing up, of grandchildren being born, of parents and husbands dying, through presidential elections and the technological revolution, tea hasn't changed. The clock ticks. Cups are filled and refilled. Bodies sink into a relaxing rhythm, cares momentarily suspended.

The women catch up on old times, discuss books, politics, children's lives.

This is a worthy tradition.

It is a gift from Nanny, the woman who started it all.

It all began in 1968. . . . .read the whole story here

Excerpt used with permission by the author Cindy Lange-Kubick, who can be found on Twitter at @TheRealCLK

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