Tea serves as an international passport, even though government officials sometimes mistake it for another substance. When tea drinkers meet, there is an excitement similar to meeting a new cousin at a family reunion. Once we become acquainted, we then spend talking time talking about where we fit within our huge tea family. Yes, tea is a journey and it will take you places.
Walking Between Familiar and Unfamiliar
Isn’t it odd how we can walk a familiar track and yet discover new ground? Occasionally we receive the opportunity to visit places that hold bittersweet memories. Before our departure, we may feel some trepidation about retracing our steps and/or perhaps even repeating our past mistakes. However, we choose to get on board with our baggage and go. Why? The desire to go forward outweighs anything that would try to keep us from wasting a customized ticket. Regardless of the outcome, some trips are non-transferable.
Upon our arrival, we realize that something’s shifted. Maturity, as a paintbrush, added experience to those memories and covered them with a different patina. The place itself may not have changed, but the ticket holder holds a different perspective. This discovery makes the trip over familiar territory worth it. It also becomes an opportunity to appreciate the distance covered, to determine the next destination, and to start traveling in that direction. All aboard!
The day I met shop owner Deborah Birdwell at My Cottage Garden and listened to her personal tea journey I became connected to another tea-appreciating human being. It was a true sipping celebration. Our sharing conversation over tea truly felt finding a long lost relative.
My Cottage Garden looks and feels like a comfortable Victorian living room. Although the actual tea service discontinued two years ago, Debbie graciously offers to make a pot of tea to any customer caring to sample the wide selection. There was a Ceylon there with my name on it.
Speaking of home comforts, this plate of sweets reminded me of how I grew up receiving company:
The tea store is located at 325 North Kentucky Avenue in historic downtown Lakeland. Surrounded by antique shops and other boutiques, this cozy spot offers its own treasure trove especially for fellow unapologetic tea aficionados.
Despite popular technology, the telephone remains the best contact method here and Debbie Birdwell herself gives directions at (863) 688-9686) to anyone trying to find My Cottage Garden. For those travelers seeking tea, I offer this helpful landmark:
Behind the orchids, there’s tea. May all your travels end in tea. In other words, bon voyage (have a good trip)!