Our tea party was intended to be

elegant and refined,

with our best white tablecloths,

covering several small round tables,

and mama’s very best cloth napkins,

and her best Noritaki china.

We had several small tea pots,

one for each table,

and watercress sandwiches,

with the crusts cut off.

I had bought two dozen

Petit Fours at the bakery,

that morning, so I knew

they were fresh,

and our guests would have

their choice of several teas.

My sister and I had planned it

down to the last detail and

we were wearing our best

spring dresses,

and I my black patent leather shoes.

Everything was ready for the

guests to arrive.

No one knows to this day

who was responsible for

leaving the back door open,

but the dogs–

those clumsy, doltish golden retrievers–

that my father loved so much–

came barreling in,

and while my sister and I screamed

with horror and dismay,

those dogs tore through the

dining room where the tables were set,

pulling tablecloths and china crashing to the floor.

Ruined! Everything ruined! My mother would

never forgive us,

and my father maintained that the dogs

didn’t know any better.

All we had left were the boxes of

Petit Fours on the kitchen counter,

out of harm’s reach.

We swept up the broken glass

and made a pitcher of Kool-Aid

and we served Petit Fours on

paper plates.

Our girlfriends thought it was a scream.

My mother never thought so.

Don’t ever mention “tea party” in

her presence.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June, 2009,

updated October 5, 2018






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