My friendship with my dear friend M is the product of technology, for which I’m very grateful. M started a book group several years ago, and we all talked books online. I’d met only one of the group f2f, as my students would say. And she wasn’t M.
M, whose background is Russian, insisted we all needed to read War & Peace (another of those things for which I’m thankful!). So we did. M only wears his equable demeanour to fool you: he’s pretty strong-willed.
Since then, we’ve probably met f2f 2-3 times; we used to both work for the same non-profit. I’ve since retired, but M continues to make the world a much better place.
Recently — possibly because I’m constantly posting pictures of tea, trays, and spouting off about tea (get it??) — he asked if I might like his beloved uncle’s Russian tea set. Would I?? You can see from the picture how lovely the set is. What you can’t see are all the stories: M and his uncle, sharing culture and family and sorrow and love. M’s partner, present in the vivid red amaryllis. The Russian tea I brewed for the teapot, in honour of M’s heritage.
You can’t see the museum membership M leant me so I could go to an expensive museum in Chicago w/ my best friend. Or the many many musicians of all types he’s turned me on to: Brazilians, classical pianists, violinists, orchestras, jazz, doo-wop… M’s musical tastes are eclectic as my teas!
You can’t see the many emails about this and that — music, pop culture, the trivia of every day — that wing from the coast to the heartland. And more importantly, you can’t see how humbly astonished I am that someone would care enough about me — via the airwaves! — to send me something so precious, so treasured. But M’s like that. He thinks things should have good homes. And be used by people who love them.
The beginner’s heart in this equation is that M’s friendship reminds me of the wonderful twists life can take. Who would think an online book club through work would result in a dear friendship? With someone who lives half-way across the country?
Who would have thought — those many years ago, when tea saved my sanity in a land long ago & far away — that tea would become such a part of my ‘brand’…? And who would have thought I’d be making Russian tea in an imperial blue & white teapot, courtesy of a very dear (virtual) friend…