Tea Time, by Robert Emil Stubner
The year is 2010, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish it were1910.
We're getting a new dining table. A very sleek modern number that expands to seat 6. It's all glass, metal legs, and a natural oak inset that's very Ikea if Ikea were just slightly pricier. It's very cool if I do say so myself. That being said, sometimes glass, metal and cool isn't what's called for. Sometimes, I want to take out my German Art Deco tea set and serve pavlovas and finger sandwiches. Sometimes, I want a little opulence - brilliant flowers overflowing from my good crystal vase. Sometimes I want a crisp white linen tablecloth beneath my vintage plates that I've lovingly collected over the years.
Sure, we have a bright orange couch and huge 46" flat screen across the room, but maybe just for one afternoon, I can pretend. Remember pretend? Remember when all you needed were plastic yellow tea cups with daisies on them, a fake tiara, and your favorite teddy bear? It was tea time and I was a Duchess taking tea with with the Queen. I miss those tea parties. And so, I decided that what I needed was a linen tablecloth. Something crisp, white, classic and lovely...
My search has been depressing though. I can tell you that I actually found a linen tablecloth that was over a thousand dollars, and no it wasn't made from Mermaid hair. I have found every manner of polyester table covering you could ever want, plastic is also really popular, and almost any tablecloth made of a natural fiber is some god-awful heavy brocade nonsense that wreaks of dinner parties at a wealthy Texan's - that is if it comes in white or ivory. You'll find that various shades of reds and golds are all the craze these days - oh, that and roosters. Christmas themes are immensely popular as well as sunflowers which I think is supposed to be some semblance of French Provincial?
I did eventually find some simple white tablecloths. But now I find that purchasing a tablecloth online defeats the purpose. If the point of my little foray into "pretend" is perhaps capturing something of a bygone era, than I'm approaching it all wrong aren't I? I need to feel the linen between my fingers. I need to assess the weight, see the imperfections. I need to scour the flea markets and antique stores. I need to physically find my little piece of the past. After all, what good is wishing for 1910 while shopping in 2010?
When I find my perfect linens I'll make sure to post the table resplendent with tea set, flowers, and pavlovas. And then dear readers, pretend is once again open for business.